VOLUNTEERS TO PLUNGE INTO L.A. RIVER CLEANUP.
Hundreds of nature enthusiasts are expected to turn out today for the 7th Annual Great Los Angeles River Clean-Up along the 55-mile river that runs from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach.
Valley volunteers will spend the morning picking up trash at the Sepulveda Dam Basin near Balboa Lake.
The event, sponsored by Friends of the Los Angeles River, will run from 9 a.m. to noon.
``We have a living river right here in Los Angeles,'' said spokeswoman Katie Klapper. ``This is something that has enormous potential as an in-town recreational and wildlife experience.''
Klapper said that although many people know the Los Angeles River as a concrete flood channel, there are several segments of the river that are in a natural state, with abundant wildlife and vegetation.
``We have a dream to bring the entire river back to its natural state,'' said Klapper. ``We hope people come down and see what it is like and maybe become a voice that tells their city officials that they want this, too.''
Other cleanup sites are Griffith Park, Los Feliz bridge, Elysian Valley, Compton Creek and Willow Street Bridge.
The event is part of a plan by Friends of the L.A. River to lead a citizens movement to restore the river to its natural state when county officials are preparing to erect higher concrete walls along the lower 21 miles of the river, Klapper said.
At last year's cleanup, more than 1,000 people volunteered.