State Legislature Approves $100 Million For L.A. River Restoration
On Monday, the California Legislature approved $100 million in funding for L.A. River restoration efforts as part of the state budget. The money will come from Proposition 1 funds (a water bond passed in 2014).
"We want one great 51-mile river and greenway," River LA's Executive Director Omar Brownson said in a statement. Brownson praised Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro-Tem Kevin de León for their leadership in securing the funds and working with various local agencies and stakeholders on the plans. "There are 2,100 acres of land within the flood control channel that we want to unlock for increased public benefit," he continued. "This investment is key to moving this vision forward."
"What we're trying to do is invest in [the river] and make sure some of the efforts to revitalize the river are more intentional," Speaker Rendon said in a video. "I always say it's an opportunity to have a 51-mile linear park that will connect different parts of the city. If you look in my district, for example, in southeast Los Angeles County, it's a part of the county that's incredibly park poor. People use the river in its present form—which is underdeveloped and doesn't have a lot of amenities that other parks have—they still use it. To be able to add some of the amenities that you would have in any park, it really starts to get the imagination rolling in terms of what it could look like and the opportunities it could provide."
The $100 million in funding will be split between two different agencies overseeing different parts of the river, according to Speaker Rendon's office. Part of it will go to the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, which is tasked with Lower River restoration through the Lower L.A. River Revitalization Plan, and the other portion will be used by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which focuses restoration efforts on the Upper River.