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Endangered Trout May Soon Return to Los Angeles


An ambitious restoration of the concrete strip that is the Los Angeles River could welcome the endangered Southern California rainbow trout to one of the largest cities in the country.

After the dramatic floods in the 1930s, flood control measures turned a once-important migration route for fish into a 49-mile paved waterway surrounded by concrete walls, there was an immediate exodus of everything. the riparian ecosystem and the last trout to be caught in the river was in 1948.

Los Angeles River in Griffith Park, around 1898–1910

Decades of criticism about the river’s condition have brought together various state and federal agencies to find a way to make the habitat wild once again.

These efforts have seen the creation of the LA River Fish Passage and Habitat Structures Program, which focuses on improving the flow and water quality of the Arroyo Seco, a tributary of the Los Angeles River that has a strong influence on the water flow downstream, where concrete banks and the river bed make the water speed up too fast for rainbow trout.

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Trout, like salmon, leave the sea and swim upstream to spawn in the small tributaries of the river, and the goal is for them to be able to return, curiously enough if one imagines the famous Hollywood car chase sequences that have taken place there. “On the river of cement.”

The idea is create a complete passage that would allow trout to swim to their spawning grounds by removing obstacles, creating side ponds and other habitats, and deepening the central channel before lining it with natural materials such as pebbles, sand, and riparian plants.

Los Angeles District USACE, CC license

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Ideally, as new controls are established over the river’s tributaries to control the speed of the water, the trout that have been isolated in the mountains would return downstream to the sea and those that are in the sea would return upstream. .

Steelhead Trout / Oregon State University, CC license

It feels wild to think of trout racing on a concrete river running through a concrete jungle, but that’s what planners are after.

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