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There is a guarded optimism about the restoration of the Los Angeles River today. After decades of advocacy by some public officials, environmentalist, artists and citizens, in 2010 the Los Angeles River was finally recognized and redefined from a flood control channel to a federally protected river way under the Clean Water Act.
Although some people consider the Los Angeles River to be the largest and most important civic project of the city of Los Angeles can undertake in the 21st century, lack of public funding and bureaucratic setbacks has stifled its progress.
But there is no turning back. As the city looks for public open green space to oxygenate its urban growth, now, more than ever our elected officials are called upon to address its relevancy to their constituencies. Nonprofits and governmental organizations are pushing forward to educate the public through clean-ups and recreational events along the river. Activists are taking their own initiatives, people are fishing, biking and beginning to use the river as a river.
Just as Lewis Macadam's did when he established Friends of the Los Angeles River more that twenty years when he cut hole in a fence and declared, ironically, that the Los Angeles River was in fact a river, we encourage all Angelenos to walk down to the river and discover it for their own.