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LA City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield Introduces Motion to Bring MRCA Ranger Patrol to LA River in Canoga Park

August 7, 2019

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LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield introduced a new initiative to
revolutionize environmental and law enforcement along the headwaters of the LA River by
establishing a pilot program giving authority for the area to the Mountains Recreation and
Conservation Authority (MRCA). Currently the River is a confluence of jurisdictions which has led to
a number of difficult to resolve environmental and quality-of-life issues. Blumenfield’s plan aims to
cut the immense red tape and bureaucratic hurdles that currently exist around solving these issues
and improve the environment and safety of the area.

“The status quo around how we handle issues along the LA River is broken,” said Blumenfield. “I’m tired of the finger pointing around who is responsible for what and the time is now to bring in the MRCA, an organization that is tested, trusted, and perfectly suited to help resolve the complex, multi-jurisdictional problems we are facing.”

As an established, trusted joint powers entity, the MRCA would have full enforcement capabilities that cross jurisdictions. The MRCA would take responsibility for the river environment in this pilot program to patrol the area, enforce relevant ordinances, ensure safety, assist with maintenance and operations, reduce hazards, offer interpretation and educational resources to the public, provide outreach to unsheltered individuals in the area, and ensure that the river is an amenity for the local community. As a Joint Powers Authority agency whose Rangers are Sworn California Peace Officers with swift water rescue, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), naturalist, and wildland firefighter training, MRCA Rangers can contract to work on all areas of the river regardless of which governmental entity has ownership for a particular area.

“MRCA Rangers are well-trained and especially suited to working with the urban-parkland interface,” said Chief Ranger Fernando Gomez. “We are very good at dealing with issues like homelessness and promoting safe recreation.”

For the last seven years MRCA Rangers have supervised and patrolled the Los Angeles River Recreation Zone, which allows kayaking, hiking, and fishing in the Los Angeles River in two designated areas of the river–one in Elysian Valley and one in the Sepulveda Basin from Memorial Day to the end of September. They have also been responsible for patrol of MRCA parks along the river and in the other 75,000 acres of MRCA-managed public parkland in Southern California.

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) is a local government public entity dedicated to the preservation and management of open space and parkland, watershed lands, trails, and wildlife habitat.  The MRCA works in cooperation with other government partners to acquire parkland, participate in vital planning processes, provide natural resources and scientific expertise, and complete major park improvement projects. The MRCA manages and provides ranger services and fire protection for almost 75,000 acres of parkland that it owns and that are owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy or other agencies and provides comprehensive education and interpretation and leadership programs for youth. It is one of the lead agencies providing for the revitalization of the Los Angeles River.