This project supported the development of an approximately two-mile long riverfront park with wetlands and associated upland habitat, interpretive displays, a bicycle staging area and public access trails on a 39-acre site adjacent to the Los Angeles River. The project site is a flood control detention basin owned and operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. The project will, with the adjoining Dominguez Gap basin wetlands, create almost three miles of recreated wetland and related habitat along the Los Angeles River. The DeForest and Dominguez Gap basin projects together will constitute the largest habitat restoration project(s) to date on the Los Angeles River and a very significant step in completing the 52-mile Los Angeles River Greenway.
The project’s habitat design focuses on re-creating historical floodplain habitats of the lower Los Angeles River watershed. The project will remove non-native trees from DeForest Park in the northern portion of the DeForest Basin. Wetland areas will be created in this area using existing low-flow runoff from storm drains. These wetland areas will act to treat and improve water quality of both these dry season low flows and stormwater that is retained on-site before it is discharged to the Los Angeles River. Other project elements in this area will consist of trails, including boardwalks, an entrance gate, and interpretive displays focusing on the historical ecology of the region. In the southern portion of the basin, rare historic habitat types such as vernal pools, native grasslands, coastal scrub, and oak-sycamore woodlands will be developed or enhanced. Trails for pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians would be created as well as a bicycle “waystop” or staging area to connect the park with the adjoining LARIO bicycle trail.