This in-depth piece on different visions and conflicts for renewing the Los Angeles River makes for an engaging read. Check out these quotes from “L.A. Remembers It Has a River” by Willy Blackmore in TakePart, the digital news and lifestyle magazine, and social action platform.
“There’s no keystone species for riparian habitat in Southern California—no iconic, ecologically significant animal whose health and abundance can stand in for that of the larger ecology. But Lewis MacAdams—who cofounded the river’s first dedicated environmental group, Friends of the Los Angeles River, in 1987—has said he’ll know his work is done “when the steelhead trout run returns to the Los Angeles River.” MacAdams and his organization have played a major role in bringing the city’s attention back to its central waterway, and while he has been critical of Gehry’s involvement, MacAdams has been supportive of the Corps of Engineers’ vision for the river.
“Yet the habitat restoration plan for the Glendale Narrows accounts for neither fish nor frog. According to the plan, the restored habitat would help the endangered least Bell’s vireo, a small brownish bird, but the question of steelhead, a member of the salmon family, is couched more in terms of maybe or someday.”
I found the same thing — no plans for fish — during research for my 2012 piece about steelhead.
See you on the river, Jim Burns
Lewis MacAdams is right!! I think that there is an iconic species for this river. If you bring back the steelhead, you solve many issues of the river in terms of ecology and beauty at the same time.
The current statement from Frank Gehry, that it is going to be a ‘hydrology project first, and then a beautification project’ seems to be the same level of logic that channelized the river in the first place – solving one problem. Also its a RIVER. Anyone who has been down into the Glendale Narrows can see that if you give it some freedom, it will naturally meander and create beauty that doesn’t need an architect to design or intellectualize it.
There are many examples of rivers that have been problems when cities built into their rain sheds. the South Platte through Denver always comes to my mind. It has hard edges and intersections with the city and has areas where it runs free and is natural. It also has monster carp and trout in these areas respectively.