Friends of the LA River
(FoLAR) Friends of the Los Angeles River is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization founded in 1986, whose mission is to protect and restore the natural and historic heritage of the Los Angeles River and its riparian habitat through inclusive planning, education and wise stewardship. Once home to steelhead and grizzlies, the Los Angeles River meandered through wetlands, marshes, willow, alder and sycamore, providing desperately needed water for the region.
Now running over 50 miles long – from the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley to the ocean in Long Beach – the Los Angeles River flows through 14 cities and countless neighborhoods.
When the Army Corps of Engineers initiated a flood control project in the late 1930′s, they began the process of paving 80% of the River, creating the world’s largest storm drain. Over the ensuing decades, the River that had been the sole water supply for the City of Los Angeles before the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed in 1913 almost disappeared from public consciousness. With the cement came a perceptual shift: the River no longer existed. Instead, it was a “flood control channel,” a no-man’s land, surrounded by fences and signs.