Bill Would Unify Management, Improve Public Access
(Sacramento) – A bill to unify the public space management of the LA River with the expansion of the LA River Rangers Program today was approved by the State Assembly. The bill, AB 1558, by local Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), was brought forward by the Lower Los Angeles River Group established by AB 530 (Rendon/2015) and now moves to the State Senate.
“The LA River should be a major source of recreation for people like me in LA County who like to walk their dogs, ride their bikes or just like to get outside to enjoy the SoCal weather,” added the Assemblywoman. “But not all parts of the river are exactly inviting, let alone safe. It’s got the potential to be more than just a river of concrete. Rather than an “urban heat island” it could be an scenic open space for recreation, or even used for flood control, if it’s managed with a cohesive vision like this bill would empower.”
Assembly Bill 1558 would require development of a Los Angeles River Ranger Program, drawing together all the governments with jurisdiction over the river. Its two state conservancies – Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Rivers & Mountains Conservancy – would lead the program’s development with other state and local agencies. The plan would be delivered by June 30, 2018.
“With governance divided among public agencies, the LA River needs a unifying force to draw together state and local governments to manage and promote the public space along its banks,” said Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. “This bill codifies a plan for LA River Rangers that will protect the entire LA River, and its tributaries, as one system.”
Currently, there are more than 20 cities along the River and its tributaries, in addition to many special districts. A River Rangers program currently exists, but only manages the Northern part of the river.
The expanded Program will help the LA River communities with more than just law enforcement. A unified program would coordinate all of the state and local agencies with jurisdiction on the river to collaboratively provide solutions on its protection and management. Like National Park Service Rangers, Los Angeles River Rangers could offer programming that engages the local communities in learning and caring for the river. The rangers also would monitor conditions on the river, protect people who use the river’s public spaces and engage the community in the protection and preservation of the river’s resources.
The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.