Army Corps Officials Announce El Niño Prep Work Along The LA River


ATWATER VILLAGE -- The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, and Los Angeles City officials announced today that crews will soon begin emergency preventative work in preparation for El Niño storms that are forecast to have a significant impact on the Los Angeles River. The USACE received the funding and the green light to begin work next week on an area of the LA River that spans from Griffith Park to Elysian Valley. Starting next week, crews will remove non-native vegetation as well as install temporary 4-foot tall hesco baskets (industrial size sandbags) that will aim to raise the walls and temporarily restrict access to the waterways levy.

"Our river is unique — most of the year it runs nearly dry, and then during the rainy season it runs in powerful torrents as we've seen this week," said Mayor Garcetti. "My top priority during El Niño is to ensure the safety of everyone in our city, and I thank the Army Corps of Engineers for taking action now to enhance the river's flood management functions."

“The flood fighting has just begun for this winter,” said USACE Col. Kirk Gibbs. “The additional funding for the river should provide the interim flood risk reduction needed. Residents will start seeing an increase in activity in and around the channels starting the week of January 11th.”

The emergency work will require action from the Los Angeles City Council in the form of a motion that will allow the USACE right-of-way entry to the LA River levees, and require the closing of some sections of the LA River bike and pedestrian pathway as needed through mid april.

“The El Niño weather pattern in particular is very unpredictable and requires us to take special preventive measures for those who live in neighborhoods along the LA River,” said Councilmember O’Farrell, who chairs the city’s Arts, Parks, and LA River Committee. “I want to thank the USACE and the County Department of Public Works for their efforts to improve public safety during this rainy season.”

The work is expected to take several weeks, with the installations expected to remain in place through the spring.

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