A draft decision by the Army Corps of Engineers says that because a boat cannot navigate its waters, the L.A. River doesn't qualify as a river. Environmentalists are outraged, as hundreds of square miles of watershed are at risk of losing protection.
"The city's river can't even float enough boats to qualify as a full-fledged navigable waterway, according to the Army Corps of Engineers."
"What might seem a minor bureaucratic tweak by the Corps could have a domino effect across the river's 834-square-mile watershed, say worried environmentalists and some federal, state and local officials."
"Critics say the draft decision issued by Corps regulators weakens federal water protections for many seasonal streams that feed the river. They say this could translate into more mountain development and more dirty runoff flowing through cities to the Pacific."
"'Practically speaking, the March 20 decision would open up a number of tributaries and streams to the argument that the Clean Water Act doesn't apply,' said David Beckman, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council."