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- Urban Planning
The NELA River Collaborative project builds upon the growing momentum of efforts already underway to transform the Los Angeles River into a "riverfront district" and to create a focal point of community revitalization. For more information visit www.mylariver.org
My name is Anne Dove, and I am planner with the National Park Service, which is a federal agency and my role with that agency is to work as a planner and primarily we work with communities and local government organizations and just anyone who's interested in working on natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation issues within their communities.
Well the NPS has a pretty long history with the Los Angeles River. Back in the 1990s when the county was going through its Mater plan process for the LA River, the National Park Service through the rivers trails and conservation assistance program which works in communities to help them achieve their goals for natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation worked with the county to bring together different stakeholders and interested entities to figure what is their vision for the river and what would they like to see in the future, we've worked on watershed management plans for some of the tributaries of the LA River, so we've worked on the Arroyo Seco, the Tujunga Wash, Compton Creek and more recently we've been working on the Northeast LA Riverfront Collaborative effort both through our rivers and trails program and in part with the president's America's great outdoors initiative which was looking at establishing 21st century agenda for conservation and recreation.
So the America's Great Outdoors initiative is really focusing on how to connect people and communities to the natural resources in where they live and provide more opportunities for communities to recreate in outdoor spaces close to where they live, as a part of that goal, the Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar met the governors of each state to identify priority projects for each state so for California the L.A. River trail was identified as one of the top two priorities in California largely because of the huge population base in L.A. and because of the amazing amount of momentum that had already been built around the L.A. River and connecting it to the surrounding communities better.
So specifically within the Northeast LA Riverfront Collaborative, we were asked to provide some support, advice, things like that around how to better provide connectivity between the communities adjacent to the LA River so that people are aware that it's there and that the river becomes part of their broader community identity. And also how to provide better physical connectivity so that those communities as well as those from outside the area can better access the river and use it as the regional resource that it is really envisioned to be.
I think that sense of identity and that sense of awareness of the river and sense of connection whether it is emotional connection or physical connection to the river will help in the long term facilitating some of those water resource and water quality goals by building awareness that if you dump something in front of your house, it is going to end up in the river. So I think all of these different objectives are really intertwined together and work together towards achieving that broader vision.
There are limited resources available, limited funding and there is a broader recognition that a lot of different issues are intertwined together. So by bringing together a broad range of stakeholders and groups to work around common goals and issues, not only can you come up with more creative solutions that can address multiple objectives at once but it is also a way to better pool resources.
It really seems that there is a desire to see the river better integrated and woven into the fabric so having a stronger visibility for the river, whether it is actually having visual access to the river or seeing things like directional signage or the types of things that could actually happen along the river reflected in the community is something folks would like to see. And really it is just a matter of how to convert the turning your back on the river into turning towards the river and embracing it. So instead of having businesses that are adjacent to the river with their solid back walls against the river, you know what are some opportunities for turning those around so that they are more integrated into that resource.
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