“The complex, unique geology of the Los Angeles Basin, with its interlocking and overlapping ridges and valleys, resulted in a wildly unpredictable river that often sent torrents of water tearing over its banks.
Not long after California became a state in 1851, the water needs of a booming population stressed the Los Angeles River to its breaking point. Meanwhile, the fitful river endangered the settlements multiplying throughout the floodplain. After catastrophic floods in 1914, 1934, and 1938, the city, at the recommendation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, agreed to straighten the riverbed and pave it with concrete, deracinating whatever plant and animal wildlife was left. A complex of aqueducts, dams, and reservoirs was built to import most of the city’s water; today, it delivers about 430 million gallons daily.”
Restoration of this watershed is a priority to many who live in and around LA.