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L.A. River Access Bill Signed by Governor Brown

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Photo by Justin Cram

We will soon have easier public access to the L.A. River for recreational and educational purposes under new legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday, August 28.

"The passage of SB 1201," said Friends of the L.A. River President Lewis MacAdams on Wednesday morning, "fundamentally establishes that in the eyes of the State of California, the Los Angeles River is a river, not just a flood control channel, and must be treated that way by Los Angeles County."

SB 1201, known as the L.A. River Access Bill, requires the L.A. County Department of Public Works' Flood Control District to include in the objects and purposes of the district to provide for public use of navigable waterways under the district's control that are suitable for recreational and educational purposes.

The bill was originally written by Friends of the Los Angeles River in collaboration with the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic at UCLA and carried by State Senator Kevin de León. The State Senate voted in favor of the bill on August 13, and was delivered to the governor's desk on August 16.

One case that FoLAR will take up with the passage of the bill is to simplify the process of obtaining a permit to access the river. Currently an organization must obtain up to fifteen different permits to work or play in the river. "A one-stop permitting process is only one step towards safe and responsible river governance," said MacAdams in a previous article.

How will the passage of SB 1201 change the way we see and use the L.A. River? We can only hope that it's just one of many positive steps toward revitalizing the river.

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