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Corps stands by L.A. River ruling

June 05, 2008|Deborah Schoch

Army Corps of Engineers officials announced Wednesday that they would stand by their decision to label the Los Angeles River as not navigable.

The ruling sparked criticism from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and conservationists, who warned that it would weaken federal Clean Water Act rules protecting the river's 834-acre watershed.

Critics said the decision will make it easier to develop large areas of the San Gabriel, Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountains because landowners will not be required to obtain certain federal permits.

Some federal and state officials fear that the decision also may undermine rules against discharging waste water and storm water into the river's tributaries.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, June 07, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
Watershed: An article in Thursday's California section about federal regulation of the Los Angeles River said the river's watershed covered 834 acres. The watershed covers 834 square miles.

Corps officials said Wednesday that they will continue enforcing the Clean Water Act as usual along the river.

The corps' decision is among the first to test the effect of a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that linked Clean Water Act protections to the proximity of streams to "traditional navigable waters."

The corps, however, did label as navigable two miles of the Sepulveda Basin in the San Fernando Valley. The agency already had given that status to 1.75 miles of river between the ocean and the Pacific Coast Highway bridge in Long Beach.

Adding the Sepulveda Basin will extend protection to more upstream tributaries, but specific streams have not been identified, officials said.

-- Deborah Schoch

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