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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Preserving the Los Angeles River

Los Angeles River in the foreground

The Environmental Protection Agency's recent designation of the Los Angeles River as a “traditional navigable waterway,” protected under the Clean Water Act, ensures the vitality of the river.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, speaking from the edge of Los Angeles’ Compton Creek, made the announcement, which was lauded by hundreds of community activists, local students and residents, and municipal leaders including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The announcement strengthens future environmental protection for the entire 51-mile river and for small streams and wetlands throughout the Los Angeles River Basin and enhances the ability to protect the health and safety of those who use these waters for boating, fishing and other recreational activities.

Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles and Lisa Jackson announcing EPA's decision on the LA River

Two Videos from the
Announcement Event

We want the LA River to demonstrate how urban waterways across the country can serve as assets in building stronger neighborhoods,” Jackson said. “A clean, vibrant LA River system can help revitalize struggling communities, promoting growth and jobs for residents of Los Angeles.”

Jackson said the new decision will allow federal, state and local agencies to work together to fight pollution and protect future destruction of natural streams, wetlands and other waters remaining in the Los Angeles Basin that are important for water quality, wildlife and recreation.

County Supervisor Ridley-Thomas also announced the purchase of a 5-acre piece of land along Compton Creek and called for an ecosystem restoration study of the creek.

Map showing LA River
Much of the Los Angeles River is accessible through interstate highways, surface streets, and parks and is home to a 49-mile formal and informal bicycle trail. [Larger version]

“We all want clean water and we all want healthy communities,” Jackson added. "It's up to everybody. This water body deserves the same protection of any water body."

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