$837k in federal stimulus money goes to greypainting River walls

From “Army engineers clean up graffiti along L.A. River” — LATimes (Dec 28, 2009) by Andrew Blankstein:

…The whitewash is part of a program the Army Corps of Engineers began in September to cover or erase graffiti along 100 miles of the county’s sprawling flood-control system, which includes the downtown area as well as the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys and the southern end of the county.

Using $837,000 in federal stimulus money, the corps awarded a one-year contract to San Fernando-based BJD Resourcing to remove the tags in rivers, channels and creeks. In some areas, crews have used high-pressure water to spray off the toxic paint used in tagging. Hazardous-material crews would dam and capture all the paint and water runoff to keep it out of the riverbed. For the most part, however, the work is being done using waterway-safe paint, said Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey E. Koontz of the corps.

Motorized paint sprayers, — using 63,000 gallons of paint in a typical day — are the tool of choice. In three months, the corps has covered about 13 square miles of walls, banks and bridge abutments, equivalent to painting the entire city of Downey.

River photos by Noah Sheldon

From http://www.dotcomdotcodotuk.com/2009/11/la-river.html:

Noah Sheldon: http://www.noahsheldon.com/

hipped to this by Bridget Donahue (www.cleopatras.us)

Nature Trumps is back

Nature Trumps is kaput

I’m living in Brooklyn now and so, for obvious reasons, am no longer updating this blog.

I’ll leave it available online for now.

I’ll be happy to direct any future visitors to Nature Trumps to any new blogs devoted to the River that I’m made aware of, so please let me know of any.

Thanks to everyone who’s contributed to this blog, with a special thanks to Katie Smith, who made it possible; Lewis MacAdams, who accidentally gave it its name; and Carmelo Gaeta, who taught me so much.

All best,

Jay Babcock

July 6 – TaskForce, Suzanne Lummis and Jenny Price in day-long River performance and bus tour


Sunday, July 6th 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

On Sunday, July 6th, TaskForce and Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) come together to present a day-long, unique performance and bus tour with River guide Jenny Price and poet Suzanne Lummis. This will be a once in a lifetime chance to see the masterful creativity of TaskForce using the LA River as both muse and stage. $45 FoLAR members; $50 non-members. Lunch included. For more information and reservations, e-mail Alicia at akatano@folar.org.

TaskForce is a new and unique touring performance company will be performing site-specific performance tour of water related sites throughout the Los Angeles area. Artistically directed by veteran site artist Stephan Koplowitz, TaskForce is made up of artists drawn from the fields of dance, music and visual media who will move across a range of locations to create performances in response to unusual, inspiring or challenging spaces.

Thirty zafus, floating


“On June 21, 2008, shortly after dawn, WALKER, a Los Angeles artist, will launch 6,564 yards of clear packing tape in the form of thirty zafus (Zen meditation cushions) that will traverse the length of the Los Angeles River, from the Sepulveda Dam to the Long Beach Harbor, a distance of over forty miles. A contingent of monitors/documenters will follow on bicycles to record the progress of these pod-shaped objects until they reach the harbor where they will be retrieved by boat to prevent them from going out to sea. No animals or environments will be harmed as a result of these actions.

“This project is the inaugural event for L A L O C A, a recently conceived arts organization dedicated to promoting idea based art. WALKER is a Los Angeles based artist.”

June 5 LATimes on A.C.E. decision that will weaken River watershed protection

From the Los Angeles Times – June 5, 2008

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirms non-navigable status for most of L.A. River

The ruling sparks sharp warnings that it will weaken federal Clean Water Act rules protecting the river’s sprawling 834-acre watershed.

By Deborah Schoch, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials announced today that they are standing by their decision that most of the Los Angeles River is not navigable.

The ruling sparked sharp criticism from some other regulators and conservationists who warned that it will weaken federal Clean Water Act rules protecting the river’s sprawling 834-mile watershed.

They believe the ripple effect of the decision will make is easier to develop large areas of the Santa Susana, Santa Monica and San Gabriel mountains because landowners will not be required to obtain certain federal permits. Some federal and state officials fear that the decision also may undermine rules against discharging wastewater and storm water into the river’s tributaries.

Corps officials said that they will continue enforcing the Clean Water Act as usual along the river.
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June 1 L.A. Times on Mar 20 finding by Army Corps of Engineers regulators that will weaken River protection

“Is the L.A. River up a creek?” – June 1

If the waterway is not officially deemed to be ‘navigable,’ many of its tributaries could lose important protections.

By Deborah Schoch, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Over the years, the Los Angeles River has been redrawn, clad in concrete, tainted with chemicals, invaded by countless Hollywood car chases, dismissed as a glorified storm drain.

Now comes the latest slap. The city’s river can’t even float enough boats to qualify as a full-fledged navigable waterway, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

River advocates are outraged.

“They’re just wrong. That’s the simple version of it. We’ve done kayak trips from the Valley to Long Beach a dozen times in the past 10 years,” said poet and writer Lewis MacAdams, founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River.

It doesn’t end there. What might seem a minor bureaucratic tweak by the Corps could have a domino effect across the river’s 834-square-mile watershed, say worried environmentalists and some federal, state and local officials.

Critics say the draft decision issued by Corps regulators weakens federal water protections for many seasonal streams that feed the river. They say this could translate into more mountain development and more dirty runoff flowing through cities to the Pacific.

“Practically speaking, the March 20 decision would open up a number of tributaries and streams to the argument that the Clean Water Act doesn’t apply,” said David Beckman, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

But how is the Clean Water Act — among the strongest federal laws guarding rivers, lakes and streams — linked to the ability to float a boat down the Los Angeles River?
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