Students Lead Discussion on Region's Rivers Systems

Students Lead Discussion on Region's Rivers Systems

Southern California residents often see their waterways as a giant sewer system of concrete channels. But what most people don't realize is that the Los Angeles Basin has real rivers running through it. Although the Los Angeles River, San Gabriel River, Arroyo Seco and Eaton Wash no longer resemble the natural waterways that supported the founding of this metropolitan region, restoration plans are in the works.

Through the Golden Necklace Project, students in Cal Poly Pomona's Department of Urban and Regional Planning (URP) are educating Southern Californians on the rivers' positive impact on the quality of life in their communities, whether as recreational and transportation corridors, or in maintaining the health of the watershed.

On Tuesday, Sept. 2, students in URP's Community Planning Studio, taught by Associate Professor Julianna Delgado, will lead a workshop at the Los Angeles River Center and Garden to develop guiding principles for the next phase of the Golden Necklace Project. Attendees will walk to the LA River and see its relationship with the surrounding residential, commercial and industrial neighborhoods. Government officials, city planners and representatives from various outdoors organizations have been invited.

“Visiting the river allows people to understand the importance of the Los Angeles River and envision its potential as open space,” Delgado says. “Workshop participants will also work together to develop a set of Golden Principles that all stakeholders can embrace and will lead to an implementation strategy for the Golden Necklace multi-use trail way.”

The Golden Necklace project started in January 2008 and envisions a long distance route that connects the San Gabriel Mountains to the ocean in Long Beach, via a grand loop or “golden necklace.” Along with creating much needed recreation space for pedestrians, bikers and equestrians, the project provides educational opportunities to increase awareness about the watershed and importance of the region's precious water supply. Of course, the open space brings a welcome transit alternative in a time of skyrocketing gas prices and constant traffic jams.

Organized by students, the workshop is part of a two-quarter capstone course for graduating seniors to apply what they've learned in a real-life, community service learning project. The event is a public-private effort among the university, non-profit and corporate sponsors. Supporters include the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Arroyo Seco Foundation, Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, Starbucks, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

The workshop is on Tuesday, Sept. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the LA River Center in Los Angeles and is free to attend. Please RSVP by e-mailing For more information, visit