LOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) President Lewis MacAdams announced today that FoLAR is launching a campaign to call for the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to commit to sharing the cost of Alternative 20, a $1.35 billion plan to restore 11 miles of the Los Angeles River with the City of Los Angeles on a true 50/50 basis.
Alternative 20 is the most ambitious plan to emerge from the Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility or ARBOR Study, which FoLAR raised $1,000,000 to complete, and which has been championed by FoLAR and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
On July 16, 2015 in Washington D.C. the USACE Civil Works Review Board joined FoLAR and the City of Los Angeles in support of Alternative 20, selecting it as the USACE’s recommended plan for LA River Restoration. However, the board did not address the issue of cost sharing even through in May of 2014 Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy recommended sharing the costs on a true 50/50 basis.
The USACE has released the Board’s Los Angeles River Restoration Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) which is open for public comment for the next 30 days – until November 1st. FoLAR is calling on its supporters to make the most of the next 30 days and call on the USACE to commit to a true – 50/50 – cost sharing with the city and people of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles River Restoration Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) and additional information about the public comment period can be found online at http://goo.gl/KS8GxD .
“Alternative 20 is the holy grail of LA River restoration.” said MacAdams “Without fair – 50/50 – cost sharing it’s not a $1.35 billion gift to the LA River – it’s a bill for hundreds of millions of dollars the City – and people of Los Angeles will have to pay.”
In FoLAR’s view a large shift of the costs to the City could derail the entire plan or threaten the scope of the plan especially the 131 Acre Piggyback Yard which the recommended plan currently envisions as a massive green space on the River in the heart of Los Angeles.
FoLAR agrees with Assistant Secretary Darcy that the Army Corps and Federal Government should make a significant and equitable contribution to the restoration of the Los Angeles River, based on the extraordinary depth and breadth of the Federal interest. It is a matter of environmental justice – this plan will create vibrant habitat connecting families in underserved communities with a living River in ways we have not seen for generations. 80% of all wildlife rely on riparian ecosystems and in Southern California 90% of riparian habitat has been lost. This habitat must be restored.
FoLAR urges its entire 28,000-person constituency to visit www.FoLAR.org/action to learn more about the issue and make their voices heard. FoLAR also welcomes organizations and leaders who wish to participate in the campaign and has tools available for them.
FoLAR is a non-profit organization created to protect and restore the natural habitat and historic heritage of the LA River, through inclusive planning, restoration and wise stewardship. FoLAR envisions a swimmable, fishable, boatable, bikeable Los Angeles River within a greenway from the mountains to the sea. More information can be found at www.FoLAR.org.