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Garcetti's L.A. River Tour Goes On, Despite Rained-Out Kayak Plans

Mayor Eric Garcetti and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Photo courtesy of Grove Pashley.

Last night's rain dashed plans by Mayor Eric Garcetti to kayak part of the 51-mile Los Angeles River with the chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today.

A ranger deemed the water conditions unsafe due to the rain, so the mayor and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy instead took a 45-minute walking tour during which they discussed river restoration and revitalization efforts, mayoral spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.

City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, whose district includes the Los Angeles River, also was along for the tour.

The change in plans did not appear to put a damper on the EPA administrator's mood. Following the tour, McCarthy tweeted: "Great tour of LA river with (Eric Garcetti) and (Mitch O'Farrell). Real community progress, everyone working together."

The mayor, McCarthy and a representative of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had planned to start at the 3-acre Marsh Park and spend half an hour paddling through the Glendale Narrows portion of the Los Angeles River.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. Photo courtesy of Grove Pashley.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. Photo courtesy of Grove Pashley.

The Glendale Narrows stretches nine miles through the Elysian Valley and is one of the few parts of the river that still has a natural "soft-bottom" that attracts fish, bird and other wildlife.

During a meeting last month in Washington, D.C., to discuss a river revitalization effort led by the Corps of Engineers, Garcetti invited McCarthy to tour the river with him, according to Curry.

Garcetti has thrown his support behind Alternative 20, a $1 billion Corps of Engineers plan to restore natural habitats along the river, and he hoped to show McCarthy a portion of the river that best represents what that plan would do, Curry said.

Most of the river was covered in concrete and turned into a storm water channel during the first half of the last century to guard against flooding.

The city has taken steps in recent years to reopen the river to the public and restore natural wildlife habitats alongside of it. This year, a 2.5- mile section of the Glendale Narrows was opened to recreational fishing, boating and kayaking.

Garcetti was also expected to point out bike and walking paths, park facilities and other revitalization measures along the river. After the river tour, McCarthy is scheduled to visit the Port of Long Beach and a recycling facility in Wilmington.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. Photo courtesy of Grove Pashley.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. Photo courtesy of Grove Pashley.

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