Public Invited to Groundbreaking Ceremony for DeForest Park Wetlands Restoration Project

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The public is invited to join Mayor Robert Garcia, Councilmembers Al Austin II and Rex Richardson, and the Departments of Parks, Recreation and Marine, and Public Works at a groundbreaking ceremony for the DeForest Park Wetlands Restoration Project on Tuesday, December 1 at 10:00 am at the south end of DeForest Park, 6255 DeForest Avenue.

“I am excited to see the City of Long Beach move forward with the restoration of the DeForest Wetlands into a natural resource for the residents of Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “This project will create recreation opportunities and open space in under-resourced neighborhoods and is an important step forward in our restoration of the Los Angeles River.”

The DeForest Park Wetlands Restoration Project will provide for the development of 39 acres of wetlands, riparian and upland habitat, accessible public trails, and educational interpretation along the Los Angeles River, from DeForest Park to Del Amo Boulevard. Along with the adjacent Dominquez Gap wetlands, the DeForest Wetlands Restoration Project will create almost 3 miles of recreated wetlands along the Los Angeles River, and will be a significant step in completing the 52-mile Los Angeles River Greenway.

“This is an exciting project that has been a long time in coming,” said Councilmember Al Austin II. “Like the Dominguez Gap Wetlands to the south of Del Amo, the DeForest Wetlands will become a destination for nearby residents, as well as nature lovers, tourists and anyone looking for a great place to take a stroll and enjoy a little bit of nature in our city.”

The project will re-create historical floodplain habitats along 39 acres of the lower Los Angeles River watershed, including removing non-native trees from the DeForest Park area and using low-flow runoff from storm drains to create wetland areas that will improve the cleanliness of discharged water into Los Angeles River. Historic habitat types, such as vernal pools, native grasslands, coastal scrub, and oak-sycamore woodlands would be developed or enhanced.

“Restoring the DeForest Park Wetlands will create a new highlight along the road to the renaissance in North Long Beach,” said Councilmember Rex Richardson. “This incredibly important undertaking will provide a fresh opportunity for children and families to enjoy nature, and engage with this natural resource in our community.”

The project also includes walking, biking and equestrian trails; an entrance gate, interpretive displays, and a bicycle staging area beneath the Long Beach Boulevard overpass to connect the park with the Los Angeles River Bikeway (LARIO).

The $8.3 million dollar project is supported by grants from the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy ($1,000,000); Los Angeles County Regional Parks and Open Space District ($3,123,000); California Natural Resources Agency River Parkways ($2,500,000); and the State of California Coastal Conservancy ($1,500,000).

For more information about the DeForest Wetlands Restoration Project, call 562.570.3150.

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