You’ve likely seen plenty of footage of the Los Angeles River—in Terminator 2, Grease, Drive, shall I go on? But unless you’ve poked around the famous watershed in a kayak, or traveled the path that runs alongside it by bike, you probably haven’t seen it like this.
Although most know the river best for its concrete banks, installed in the 1930s to mitigate catastrophic flooding, there are several “soft-bottom” corridors where the water meanders over rocks and spills into pools, creating a true riparian habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife. A $1.3 billion plan to revitalize an 11-mile stretch of the river to these ecosystem-nurturing standards was approved today by the US Army Corps of Engineers (who, funnily enough, where the ones who cemented the thing over in the first place). It will take years, decades even, to restore all 52 miles of the river back to its natural state. But as this video produced by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti notes, this is an important first step towards that goal.