Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Start watching
SoCal Update

SoCal Update

Start watching
a large damn with graffiti of a woman with a hammer on it, mountains in the background

Earth Focus Presents

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Professor T

Professor T (Belgium)

Start watching
Artbound

Artbound

Start watching
Emma

Emma

Start watching
Guilt

Guilt

Start watching
Line of Separation Key Art.

Line of Separation

Start watching
Us

Us

Start watching
The Latino Experience

The Latino Experience

Start watching
Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
Death in Paradise Series 10

Death in Paradise

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Echo Park Lake To Reopen With Eco-Friendly Improvements

Support Provided By

Echo Park Lake will finally reopen after its two-year, $45 million renovation on June 15. The fence will come down and the neighborhood landmark, which was originally built as a drinking water reservoir in the 1860s, will be back in action and open to the public.

Echo Park Lake was identified as an impaired body of water in 2006, and the city allocated $64.7 million dollars to fund its cleanup and revitalization. The lake was closed off and drained in the summer of 2011. The rehabilitation project tackled Echo Park Lake not only as a recreational body of water, but also as an important part of the Los Angeles ecosystem.

Although Echo Park Lake is man-made, it is part of the local watershed. "It is the low point in the 770-acre Echo Park/Silver Lake watershed, but it also feeds into the L.A. River on its downstream side," said Julie Allen, Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation Project Manager.

The lake primarily acts as a detention basin for stormwater. "When extra stormwater comes in, it flows out of the lake into the LA River," said Allen.

The once murky waters of Echo Park Lake will be much cleaner thanks to several water quality improvement measures, including wetlands planted in the basin of the lake, a new and more watertight liner, a recirculation system, an aeration system, and hydrodynamic separators that treat the water before it enters the lake. Trash will still have to be manually removed, but the previously mentioned improvements should maintain the water quality in the lake for years to come.

The park surrounding the lake has also been spruced up significantly, with a new observation deck, walking path, informational signs, and landscaping. The boathouse at the lake has been renovated, and the City Department of Parks and Recreation is pursuing a vendor for the concession stand and the paddleboat rentals.

The lake's iconic lotus beds are back, as well. After a mysterious die-off in 2008, the flowers are back and blooming a year ahead of schedule. The Lotus Festival, however, will not return to the park for another year. The whole park received new sod and landscaping that can handle normal use but is still too fragile to host a festival.

The Lady of the Lake statue came back to the park in May, but not to the place where most Echo Park residents might expect to find her. The statue, formally known as Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles, was built in the 1930s and originally sat facing away from the lake on its northern side. The statue was put into storage in the 1980s and replaced with a pump station. The statue was later installed facing the water on the east side of the lake. The Lady of the Lake is now back in her original spot.

Some of the birds that were relocated from Echo Park Lake in early 2012 are returning to the lake. "We're not bringing any birds back that can't fly," said Allen, "but we do have waterfowl, hawks, and other birds that are coming back to the lake on their own."

Echo Park Lake will be open to the public on June 15. A community event tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. will celebrate the lake's reopening, but details are currently to be determined.

Support Provided By
Read More
A picture of Smokey Bear on a sign that reads "Only you can prevent forest fires"

Ditch Smokey Bear? Not So Fast Says Former Firefighter

Smokey Bear has taken some heat in recent years, but a U.S. Forest Service historian argues that his message is now more relevant than ever.
Members of Immigration With Disabilities gathered at the Los Angeles State Historic Park in late July.

No Papers, No Care: Disabled Migrants Seek Help Through Lawsuit, Activism

A class action lawsuit seeks better care for immigrants with physical disabilities or mental illness who were detained after trying to enter the country. Other disabled immigrants without legal status are also finding it difficult to get care.
African American firefighters in LA

L.A.’s Black Firefighters Battle Flames and Racism Throughout History

From Jim Crow to today, L.A.'s Black firefighters have stood against discrimination while risking their lives fighting metropolitan fires.