• then & now
  • then & now

A Brief History.  In 1939 after a decade of devastating floods, Federal Authorities began to create a concrete “straight jacket” for the river. With channelization, natural habitats suffered. By the 1960′s Freeway expansions, industrial pollution and street run-off further degraded the river. Yet, in the Elysian Valley stretch, a high water table and the dynamics of the river’s bends around the local hills left a soft-bottom (instead of concrete,) creating an environment for aquatic plants, fish, birds, and humans.  Sedimentary islands are also home to many river-specific trees and animals, include a diversity of birds.

The Los Angeles River is on the mend.  A coalition of forces -including paddlers- is moving the river towards restoration and health.  Designated as a navigable river by the Federal Government, the river is now protected by  the  Clean Water Act, giving impetus to clean up efforts and habitat restoration.  In time, the LA River must by law reach a level of water quality that is acceptable to swimming.  Most stream water in summer is clean treated water so water quality is acceptable for kayaking with a few common sense precautions.  During rainy weather we do not paddle because street run of compromises water quality.  For all citizens our goal is a river that is ever more habitable for all creatures- including humans.  

“Is the LA River safe for paddling?” Friends of the Los Angeles River says yes.   (click to read)