live / 2016

Green Our L.A. River!

Green Our L.A. River!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by The River Project

Recognizing the LA River can be beautiful only with community support, we will restore the River Greenway’s vibrancy in Studio City, re-establish bike and pedestrian access and improve public safety.

Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Studio City Residents Association (SCRA), Studio City Beautification (SCBA), City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (Rec & Parks), Studio City Business Improvement District (BID), Save LA River Open Space (SLAROS), Studio City Farmers Market (Market), Studio City Chamber of Commerce (Chamber), Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA)

Please describe your project proposal.

We will revitalize and create connections to Studio City’s neglected LA River Greenway, helping the River become a vital part of Los Angeles. Local experts will provide best practices training to City park maintenance staff and the community for native plant care and invasive plant removal. We will engage civic organizations to create a plan that connects local businesses to the revitalized Greenway, enhances bike and pedestrian access, inspires stewardship and improves public health and safety.

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Waterways
  • Local water
  • Resilient communities
  • Tree canopy cover
  • Homelessness
  • Walk/bike/transit score

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • San Fernando Valley

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

The Studio City River Greenway, planted in 2004, was the City’s first LA River native landscape project. Unfortunately, the area has suffered for 12 years from overwatering and neglect and is overrun with exotic and invasive plant species. Since key community and business access points were never realized, it is used far less than original envisioned. Pedestrian and bike traffic has decreased substantially, given lack of stewardship and viable access. As a result, the area is a haven for many homeless, further discouraging community use.

Our project will restore the Greenway’s positive public benefits, reduce water needs, and build capacity among the community and City park maintenance staff for native plant care and stewardship best practices. We will reshape the Greenway into a vibrant amenity, create educated stewards, activate access and connection points, and encourage safe use.

The LA River Revitalization Plan designates Rec & Parks as responsible for long-term maintenance of future projects so collaboration with the Department is key. Building staff capacity in sound maintenance practices is critical to long-term success. With this project, staff will receive training that City budgets currently prohibit. The training will inform planting and maintenance practices for resilient native landscape management city-wide.

River greenway plants are chosen for their historic habitat benefits and low water needs. Proper maintenance practices need one-fifth the labor and one-seventh the water of traditional landscapes. Native plants become susceptible to disease and mortality when consistently overwatered, but exotic invasive species thrive, choking out native habitat and creating fire hazards. Learning to identify and manage invasive plants is crucial to successful native landscape management.

To foster long-term stewardship and reintegrate the greenway into community life, we will engage local businesses and LAHSA in a design charrette to reactivate greenway access points, create a more vibrant and meaningful river-business interface, and enhance public health and safety.

The project’s three phases are:

1) Survey and inventory existing native and invasive plants along the Greenway; create a plan for invasive removal; design a revitalizing native planting; and produce a clear plan for ongoing maintenance;

2) Remove invasive weeds, mulch the site and plant natives. Manage any emerging invasive plants; monitor the irrigation schedule; and trim, mulch and evaluate ongoing program needs. This will be coordinated with Rec & Parks’ bi-monthly site visits and will engage community volunteers; and

3) Organize and produce a charrette, engaging the BID, Chamber, LAHSA, community members and four landscape architects to develop resilient design plans to enhance the river-business interface, enhance public health and safety, and improve river access.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

The River Project will be able to define specific criteria to measure success including:

Number of invasive species eradicated Success of new native plantings Reduced ongoing water use and maintenance needs Increased knowledge of plantings and maintenance by Rec & Parks staff Materials to support future Rec & Parks trainings Increased support for the area by local businesses Community acceptance of river-business interface plan Number of activated access points Number of volunteers engaged Improved safety and visibility

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Volunteers
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support