Environment & Science

Fishing line recycling efforts seek to protect wildlife along LA River

The Frog Spot.
The Frog Spot.
William Preston Bowling

Hungry wildlife looking for a bite to eat along the L.A. River will be getting some extra help from the Friends of the Los Angeles River.

The nonprofit is installing recycling tubes in some areas of the historic site to reduce injuries to sensitive creatures — especially waterfowl.

Large birds have been known to search for fish in trash cans and get tangled in fishing lines as a result

Two years ago, a blue heron had to be put down when it got caught in a line.

"He got tangled up in fishing line and it infected his foot," said William Bowling, special projects manager. "The infection spread to his bone and they couldn't save him."  

The river has grown to become a more popular fishing destination since the recreation zones reopened, said Bowling. After the blue heron died, Bowling said he felt compelled to do something.

"I just thought we needed to take the first step in creating awareness on how discarded fishing line can hurt these birds," he said.

The colorful recycling tubes are PVC pipes with small inlets that will keep birds from coming into them. Visitors will be able to recognize the tubes by the organization's signature artwork. Similar tubes can be found at piers.

The new tubes will first be added to only a few locations, including the Frog Spot visitor center. Bowling said the organization was waiting on local municipalities to add tubes in other places. 

"I just want to make sure that everyone keeps fishing in the designated recreation zone," he said. "We don't want any more wildlife injuries."