When it comes to the environment, everyone is part of the solution. To make things easier for the general public, Heal the Bay has just published an updated contact list on their website for residents to report pollution issues.
Residents can report sewage spills, clogged storm drains, illegal dumping, or other similar issues by consulting the contact numbers listed, by neighborhood, on the site. The link can be found here.
According to James Alamillo, Urban Programs Manager at Heal the Bay, the contact list has existed since the 1990s, after the Clean Water Act required cities with more than 100,000 people to develop stormwater management plans. Though a public education campaign was a critical component, it soon became apparent that the city had yet to establish formal procedures to report pollution problems.
"For example, most people often called the fire department thinking that the illegal discharge was considered hazardous waste, and get frustrated when no one came out to address the issues. Also, many people did not know the plethora of jurisdictions that existed with in the general L.A. basin," writes Alamillo.
He adds that different contact points also exist within different neighborhoods, which compounded the problem. "People could not often differentiate the jurisdictions for their work, play, or living environments. For example, they might want to report an illegal discharge they saw at work when they got home; however, they may work in Hawthorne but live in Inglewood."
Every day something new always pops up on the Los Angeles River. What better way to see how much things have changed than with a L.A. River-adjacent bicycle ride?
This Sunday, The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) will host its 13th annual Los Angeles River Ride to support cycling all over the county and raise awareness for Los Angeles River revitalization projects. Over 3,000 cyclists of all ages are expected to attend.
J.J. Hoffman, Development and Events Director at LACBC, reminds prospective attendees that anyone and everyone is welcome. "The ride is family friendly. Kids 12 and under ride free." Registration will be available on site, with fees ranging from $50 to $60 depending on the route. Dads, moms and kids can take part in the Family Bike Expo, which features workshops that teach children to stay safe while having fun on two wheels.
Climate change is an issue that affects us all, yet perhaps given the way the human mind works, or the enormity of the issue, it is often easier to procrastinate rather than to start working on solutions.
Reports like the neighborhood-centric one released by UCLA's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, however, remind us that climate change is real and it will have measurable effects in our own backyard and in our lifetimes. According to the report, in 30 years, the region's summer will be longer and hotter. Los Angeles will experience triple the number of scorching days in downtown and quadruple the number in the valleys and high elevations. (Check out the per neighborhood stats here.) Climate change would also bring severe storms and damaging floods, which would leave the local population vulnerable, if no steps are taken.
Just last week, a consensus statement was released to the public signed by 520 scientists from 44 countries with a dire warning that the Earth is approaching its tipping point. "By the time today's children reach middle age, it is extremely likely that Earth's life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged by the magnitude, global extent and combination of these human-caused environmental stressors, unless we take concrete, immediate actions to ensure a sustainable, high-quality future," the scientists write.
After 15 years in the Land of Sunshine introducing Angelenos to their own river, environmental writer Jenny Price is bidding L.A. goodbye. Famed for her L.A. River tours that literally get your feet wet and her work with art collective Los Angeles Urban Rangers, Price says the move was spurred by a need to be closer to family and also to pursue an intriguing book project. We chat with Price about the river, her thoughts on its future and her time in Los Angeles.
In the fall, you'll be going to the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich. After which, you'll be in Princeton working on your book and also teaching. With you gone, where does that leave your L.A. River tours?
My hope for a few years now is that what's going on in the L.A. River would outgrow my tours. At this point, it really should be public agencies, big non-profits that are doing most of it. But there are options for people: Friends of the L.A. River does tours. Shelly Backlar is the head of education programs there. They can see if they can get a tour of them. The L.A. River Revitalization Corporation is a big new player on the river that's getting into a lot of fun, creative new public programming on the river. There's the kayaking of course, George Wolfe and other folks offer that. I also co-founded a new art collective called Project 51. We're designing a big new project to get people on the edge of the river to eat play and dance. Hopefully, we'll start this fall and we'll be looking for lots of partners.
For many Angelenos, this year's Memorial Day turned out to be more than just the unofficial first day of the summer -- it was the beginning of a new era. The Los Angeles River, whose concrete channelization in the 1930s created a web of bureaucracy that largely prevented the public from legally entering the river, began its official Pilot Recreation program on this holiday. The natural-bottomed Glendale Narrows section of the river, between Fletcher Drive and San Fernando Road, is now open for recreation until Labor Day.
While a crosstown rivalry was brewing up at Chavez Ravine in Elysian Park, down the hill in Elysian Valley it was all about communities coming together. At Marsh Park, near the north end of the Recreation Zone, city officials, like city councilman-elect Mitch O'Farrell, and long time L.A. River stakeholders, like Lewis MacAdams of Friends of the L.A. River, were seen mingling with those eager to get their feet wet.
Here are views of some of the day's excitement, from kayakers and fishers, to those just enjoying the narrow strip of nature that will hopefully soon be open year-round, and become a sense of pride for all Angelenos. For more information, visit the L.A. River Pilot Recreation Zone website.
Get your river rambling on, Los Angeles! This Memorial Day, the Los Angeles River Pilot Recreational Zone officially opens to the public. After a comment period and raised concerns from the neighborhood, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) have ironed out all the details, which you can find here.
"Having the recreational zone open feels wonderful," says Walt Young, MRCA Chief of Operations, "It would have have been possible without the Army Corps of Engineers, the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and the City."
From sunrise to sunset Memorial Day (May 27) through Labor Day (September 2), a 2.5-mile stretch of the river in Elysian Valley, between Rattlesnake Park near Fletcher Avenue and Steelheard Park near San Fernando Road, will be open to the public for kayaking, walking, birdwatching, and fishing with permits. Pets, barbecues, glass containers or swimming among others, however, are not permitted in the area.
Individuals are encouraged to bring their own kayaks, but organized groups such as schools or non-profits need to request for a permit, which could take up to five days to process. For those without kayaks in their garages, MRCA has reached out to private operators to offer the service.
MRCA has provided a map showing the path with notes on river rapid conditions aimed especially at kayakers. Markers will be placed on the trail to guide boaters.
The Recreation Zone follows a slightly different format from last summer's Sepulveda Basin kayaking program. This iteration has opened the river to even more people free of charge.
Because safety and wildlife protection is a priority, MRCA has spelled out some safety regulations. Since no lifeguards are on duty, organized groups going boating will be required to wear helmets and lifejackets to protect themselves. Individuals over 13 years old however will only need to have the gear on board, clarified Young. Those under 13 years of age need to use the safety gear.
Young hopes the recreational zone will just be the beginning of many more things to come. "I hope this is will be a baby step for more river recreation, removal of some concrete, and increased public access to the river."
An opening event will be held on Memorial Day, 10am, at Marsh Park. Get all the details here.
The Los Angeles State Historic Park -- better known as the Cornfield -- has had a contentious past with activists fighting to turn this 32-acre abandoned rail yard east of Chinatown into a public amenity. More than a decade after the needs of the community triumphed over developer plans, the neighborhood has yet to see a park in full bloom. With luck, that time may soon be at hand.
On May 9, the Senate sub-committee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation approved a $20.8 million budget for the Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP). The vote comes after a similar approval by an Assembly subcommittee on Resources and Transportation March 20.
If approved by Governor Jerry Brown this June, the funds would go toward Phase I of the park's construction, said Nidia Bautista, Legislative Consultant at the office of Senator Kevin de Leόn. It would fund "a gamut, from construction, sewer lines, all the infrastructure, and the interpretative services."
Los Angeles cyclists have yet another reason to celebrate this month. Apart from the generous $13.5 million promised by NBCUniversal, the city of Los Angeles is also giving due attention to another portion of the Los Angeles River bike path in San Fernando Valley.
In a meeting April 30, the City Council adopted an item to apply for a $11.5 million grant to construct an approximately 3-mile segment of the Los Angeles River Bike Path from Vanalden Avenue to Balboa Boulevard under the California Federal Lands Access Program. Councilman Dennis Zine, Council District 3, presented the motion alongside Councilman Ed Reyes, Council District 1.
If awarded the funds, the bike path would connect the river near its source in Canoga Park to the Sepulveda Basin, a 2,000-acre recreational area and flood control basin near Encino, in five to seven years.
Every mile is crucial, especially when building a bicycle greenway that would span the length of the 51-mile Los Angeles River from its headwaters in Canoga Park down to Long Beach.
In a deal championed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles cyclists have cause to celebrate as NBCUniversal agreed to put in $13.5-million toward a 6.4-mile stretch of bike path between Whitsett Avenue in Studio City to Griffith Park at Riverside Drive.
Currently, the path has some large sections completed -- 10 miles from Elysian Valley to Griffith Park and 17 miles from Maywood to Long Beach -- but there are still gaps throughout San Fernando Valley, and also from Vernon to downtown Los Angeles. Eric Bruins, planning and policy director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), says the money is a "significant chunk" toward filling in the gaps on the Los Angeles River Bike path.
According to Joel Sappell, Special Projects Deputy at Yaroslavsky's office, the Department of Public Works "conservatively estimated that Universal's funding will be sufficient to do all of the planning, engineering, and environmental clearance for the entire 6.4 mile stretch so that we will have a 'shovel ready' project." It would also cover the actual construction of a 1.2-mile stretch between Lankershim and Barham Boulevards, adjacent to Universal property. Leftover funds would then be used to construct the remainder of the 6.4-mile segment. Construction should be done by January 2017.
Those looking to spend some time down by the river best get ready. Last Friday the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) received a letter of No Objection from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The letter, combined with the City Council approval of the project March 27, removes the last obstacle for the program to proceed with preparation for the pilot recreational zone in Glendale Narrows.
"This is a project that truly everyone played a part in. If we didn't have permission for Department of Transportation to change the parking, if we didn't have the City pay for signage, if we didn't have the California Fish and Wildlife to mitigate nesting we wouldn't have had a program," said Walt Young, MRCA Chief of Operations. "Anything could have stopped the program. Everyone played a critical role."