Help Us Fund Adventures on the LA River

Kids kayaking on the LA RiverIf you’ve seen the movies Grease or Terminator 2 you may question the existence of the Los Angeles River. But despite appearances, the LA River is a real river.

It’s not just a movie set or a drainage ditch or a lifeless trash dump. It is a living ecosystem that carries water from the mountain ranges that surround Los Angeles into the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, these aren’t widely known facts.

In the 1930s, the Army Corps of Engineers initiated a flood control project that paved the majority of the river, and with the cement came a shift in perception: the river was no longer a river.

Until recently, the LA River was not considered “traditionally navigable” by the Environmental Protection Agency, so it was not protected by federal regulations, such as the Clean Water Act, which limit industrial discharges and protect wetlands. But in July 2010, things began to change.

American Rivers’ partner, L.A. River Expeditions, paddled the 51 mile stretch from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach (proving that the river is navigable after all!). This directed a spotlight on the river, highlighting it as a vital part of the watershed that deserves to be protected and restored.

While some positive steps have been taken (like the change in the river’s designation as navigable), there is much work to be done. We need to connect people to the river so that they will be inspired to protect and restore it to a clean, healthy, safe and sustainable urban waterway for current and future generations.

In this pursuit, American Rivers is partnering with L.A. River Expeditions help raise the profile of the river and create opportunities for low-income youth to connect with the river through kayak adventures that include environmental education and river cleanup.

Girl kayaking on the LA RiverOur goal is to help people see and feel the value of the river and develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the mistreated waterway. We believe that the more people develop a relationship with the river, the more they will play an active role in its protection and restoration.

It is particularly important to foster this relationship with Los Angeles youth, who have limited opportunities to make connections with the living parts of their landscape. We need your help to make this project happen!

If you’d like to support the effort to protect and restore a river, while also supporting opportunities for low-income youth, please click this link. It will take you to our partner’s website, where you can kick in 10, 20, 50 bucks (whatever amount you want) and know your contribution is going directly to the LA River effort.

If you donate on Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) your contribution will be matched dollar-for-dollar. Want to find out more about the LA River and the effort to prove it is really a river?

Watch this video on the LA River: