EWN On The Road

Podcast Miniseries

S4 – Rivers as Resources to be Valued

About This Episode

Air Date: August 24, 2022
Lake Mead at Hoover Dam. Credit: Todd Bridges.

In Episode 4, host Sarah Thorne and Todd Bridges continue their discussion on rivers—their role and value. In the winter of 2022, Todd and his wife (and trusty driver), Anita, traveled nearly 8,000 miles through eight states on the “Southwest Swing” of the EWN On The Road tour. They visited the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead on the Nevada and Arizona border, which is at its lowest level in its history, an alarming indication of the megadrought that has gripped the Southwest. As part of the trip, Todd spent some time exploring the Los Angeles River in California, what he calls, “an important case example of river engineering in the twentieth century.” The Los Angeles River travels 51 miles through the greater Los Angeles area, with nearly a million people living within 1 mile of it. Because of challenges related to flooding and the natural movement of the course of the river, it was “locked down,” engineered into an unchanging, unnatural, concrete channel. This unusual situation caused Todd to ponder whether rivers are “problems to be solved” or “resources to be valued.” To help answer this question, Todd spent time talking to people living and working nearby about what they want the river to be. “I met more than 20 people from a whole variety of organizations that have been working for many years to reintroduce the ‘natural’ into the Los Angeles River. And I think what people are looking for is to reconnect to the river. One group was focused on restoration at the Sepulveda Basin, a large 2000+ plus acre area next to the river with huge potential to become basically the Central Park of Los Angeles, or like the Golden Gate Park of San Francisco. . . . There’s just a tremendous amount of interest and growing momentum to create value by reintroducing the ‘natural’ into the Los Angeles River.” There is a significant opportunity for EWN to be part of this transformation: “I’m quite hopeful that we’re going to be able to collaborate in this space so the Los Angeles River can become a model for how we can reengineer to harmonize the natural with


Engineering With Nature; EWN; N-EWN; natural and nature-based features; NNBF; nature-based solutions; NBS; natural infrastructure; ecosystem restoration; ecological engineering; ecosystem services; climate change; collaboration; sustainability; extreme weather events; community resilience; urban landscapes; flood risk management

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