Southern California environment news and trends

At the top of the Los Angeles River, county public works revitalizes, greens up headwaters

The City Project/Flickr

THEN: The LA River's headwaters, over a century ago, were weedy and brackish, but free-flowing.

Robert Garcia, The City Project/Flickr

NOW: Two channelized creeks curve into one body of water: the Los Angeles River. At the back of the headwaters is Canoga Park High's football field.

Los Angeles County Public Works

NEXT: Along a mile-plus of the river, the headwaters revitalization project will add paths, native plants, benches, and interpretive materials.

If you follow the Los Angeles River up 51 miles from where it hits the ocean, its origins are in Canoga Park, east of the football field at Canoga Park High School.

It’s not much to look at, the place where Bell Creek and Calabasas Creek join. But the curved “V”s of concrete represent the LA River’s headwaters, and now the public works department for Los Angeles County will begin to spruce it up.

Los Angeles County public works officials will break ground on a revitalization project at the top of the LA River today.

Los Angeles county has gotten more than 8 million dollars to add landscaping, trails, and interpretive areas in a greenway a little over a mile along each side of the riverfront. The money's assembled from state and federal grants for the site that stretches east from Owensmouth Road.

When it’s done the new landscaping will filter stormwater, improve water quality, and give people a new place to hang out. County public works officials say the new headwaters park will open to the public sometime next year, another in a chain of revitalization projects at sites along the river’s run. 

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