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Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors



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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bush regime attack on L.A. Rivers is overturned...

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Feds Restore protection to the L.A. River

Plus State officials announce the purchase of 4 acres along a tributary to the L.A. River known as Compton Creek

The deletion of protection for all but 4 miles of the L.A. River by the federal regulators was in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that weakened wetlands protection laws, and locally it was part of an attempt to help landowners in the canyons that ring the L.A. basin to develop and fill in these canyons. Rare Earth News reported on this in 2008, concerning landowner Wayne Fishbacks's plans to develop the top of Browns Canyon in Chatsworth:
http://rare-earth-news.blogspot.com/2008/06/what-looks-like-river-but-isnt-sneak.html

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http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-compton-creek-20100708,0,7714848.story

7/8/2010--U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday declared the entire concrete-lined Los Angeles River channel "traditional navigable waters," a designation crucial to applying Clean Water Act protections throughout its 834-square-mile urban watershed.
...Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas would not argue with any of that. At the news conference he announced the purchase of a four-acre portion of the Compton Creek riverbed devastated by decades of storm runoff and illegal dumping.

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FOR MORE:
http://lacreekfreak.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/big-newsepa-designates-l-a-river-as-navigable/

Rex Frankel Says:

I thought it was up to the Army Corps of Engineers to declare whether the river is navigable or not. I don’t know if the river is actually protected yet until the Army Corps makes this declaration. They are the ones that always issue permits to fill in “waters of the USA”, so I’m a little concerned that this isn’t the end of this battle.
  • Joe Linton Says:
    Rex – The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for the initial designation (which they did and determined that only 4 miles of the L.A. River were, in their determination navigable.) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can override the USACE. Once the EPA overrides the USACE, then the USACE issues permits, based on the EPA’s determination. The USACE and EPA stood together today and said the river is navigable, so it doesn’t look like there will be any more “battle” specific to that.
    There may still be some issues to work out relative to tributaries. Protected waters must have a “significant nexus” to a protected waterbody… EPA guidance on this is a bit vague. I seem to recall them saying that within 5 miles there’s definitely a nexus, and further than that, it’s not a clear call… so if a party wants to alter a small tributary at a point 5.5 miles from the L.A. River… it’s unclear (probably subject to legal dispute) whether that portion of that tributary is actually fully protected by the Clean Water Act.

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