Cottonwood and willow trees, buckwheat, yucca, scalebroom and California sage: the ecosystem known as "Alluvial Fan Sage Scrub" was once common to flood plains like the Tujunga Wash and the Los Angeles River basin, but they are now rare in California. Urban development has invaded flood plains, the new arrivals to the ecosystem - namely, us - demanding diversion via channelization and deflection through cement barriers. As a result, water runs off city streets and into the flood control channels produces high velocity water flows in which it is almost impossible for plant and animal life to live. As plans to revitalize the Los Angeles River are developed, many propose the reintroduction of native plant species back into the ecosystem. Examples of this type of reintroduction be found in the Sepulveda Basin and El Rio de Los Angeles State Park.
Above, ecologist Ellen Mackey describes the various native species found in an alluvial sagebrush ecosystem.