Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August Happenings on the Los Angeles River & The Arroyo Seco

It's hard to believe it's August already with the summer quickly moving along. Here's some of the latest goings on with the Los Angeles River and the Arroyo Seco.

1. The big exciting news is that the US Army Corps of Engineers has issued permits to allow a 'Pilot Non-Motorized Boating Program' to take place on the Los Angeles River in the Sepulveda Basin area over a 6-week weekend test period.

Dignitaries from far and wide attended the August 8th 'kick-off' event, including USACE Colonel Mark Toy, LA Conservation Corps Executive Bruce Saito (whose organization is the lead agency for the pilot program), kayak activist George Wolfe, Melanie Winter of The River Project, Miguel Luna from Urban Semillas, and Lupe Vela, LA City Liaison to the Los Angeles River Committee. Political heavyweights included Joe Edminston of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, LA City Councilmember Tony Cardenas (in whose district the pilot program will take place) and LA City Councilmember Ed Reyes, whose vision and commitment over many years to revitalize the LA River was noted.
Once the official festivities ended, it was time to get the boats in the water! While this was a short ceremonial paddle in the LA River, it heralded the beginning of a new era of river access for the public.

The pilot program sold out within minutes of opening for reservations, so it won't be possible to participate in this month's paddling events if you are not already one of the lucky persons with reservations. Organizers are hopeful, though, that this initial pilot program's success will facilitate expanded boating access to the LA River soon.

2. If you are not a fortunate paddler, don't dismay. Friends of the Los Angeles River (http://www.folar.org/) is offering 90-minute docent led walks along the LA River in the Sepulveda Basin highlighting this historic non-motorized boating program beginning August 21st. Reservations are required - free to FoLAR members - $10 donation for non-members.

3. Feel like getting your hands dirty? River lovers have two opportunities this Saturday, August 20th:

The Arroyo Seco Foundation (http://www.arroyoseco.org/) is hosting a Central Arroyo Stream clean-up from 9:30am to 11:30am to remove trash and invasive species in the naturalized area of the Arroyo Seco just south of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.  Park at the south end of Brookside Parking Lot I near the Aquatic Center and meet at the picnic tables in the south end of the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. Wear sturdy shoes, working clothes, a hat, and sunscreen. Tools and trash bags will be provided. It's a fun way to enjoy and help nature at the same time.

Live on the other side of LA? Why not join the Village Gardeners from 9:00am to noon for some native plant landscape maintenance along the LA River in Studio City at the Richard Lillard Outdoor Classroom, 13236 Valleyheart Drive (south side of The River, 1/2 block east of Fulton)? Wear closed toed shoes and bring a hat and sunscreen. Tools and gloves will be provided. Refreshments, too! RVSP to rrabins@villagegardeners.org or 818-667-7605.

4. The Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation (http://thelariver.com/) has two upcoming events as well: Their Board of Directors holds its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, August 17th, 5:30pm to 7:30pm, in the Mayor's Press Conference Room at Los Angeles City Hall. September 11 from 3:30pm to 5:30pm, marks LARRC's inaugural community event, Let's Talk River, honoring Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes.

Finally, if you just want to get out and enjoy urban nature this month, check out the recreational opportunities along the Arroyo Seco, including the Arroyo Seco Trail Guide here: http://www.ci.pasadena.ca.us/PublicWorks/arroyo_recreation_and_activities/

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