Brick Is Honored for Arroyo Seco Revitalization


Tim Brick pictureOctober 19, 2007 - Tim Brick, Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation, was honored by the Friends of the Los River at a gala event held at the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens on Friday night. Brick received the coveted Rivie Award for his contribution to Arroyo Seco and Los Angeles River restoration programs. In his acceptance remarks, Brick noted that the award is fitting recognition for the LA River's greatest tributary and that the Arroyo Seco should be seen as a model for LA River revitalization.


Other honorees at the festive evening event included a freshman member of the California Assembly, an executive from Warner Brothers, and one of the region's conservation pioneers all recognized by the civic group that put the Los Angeles River on the map over 20 years ago.


Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) hosted the sixth annual River Awards and Fiesta on Friday evening, October 19, 2007 at the L.A. River Center just northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The event is the group's principal annual fundraiser; LA Councilmember Tom LaBonge emceed the evening.


FoLAR is a non-profit organization founded by poet Lewis MacAdams in 1986 to protect and restore the natural and historic heritage of the Los Angeles River and its riparian habitat through inclusive planning, education and wise stewardship. What began as a dream about what many considered a "concrete ditch" is now the linchpin in L.A.'s urban ecology and environmental justice movement. Earlier this year, the City of Los Angeles adopted a Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan to guide urban planning along the River from downtown L.A. to the San Fernando Valley. The plan incorporates many ideas long advocated by FoLAR.


At the outdoor event held near the confluence of the Arroyo Seco and the Los Angeles River, FoLAR honored six individuals who have contributed to the River's revitalization: California Assemblymember Kevin de Leon, whose district includes major stretches of the River Shelley Billik, Vice-President, Environmental Initiatives, Warner Bros. Entertainment Tim Brick, Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation and chairman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Joe Edmiston, executive officer of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Lane Barden, photographer and advocate Rita Robinson, Director of the L.A. Bureau of Sanitation


Assemblymember Kevin de Leon, who represents portions of northeast Los Angeles and Hollywood, was first elected to the California Assembly in 2006. He is the principal sponsor of legislation to bring parks and open space to underserved urban communities throughout California, including those surrounding the L.A. River.


Shelley Billik is a longtime supporter of FoLAR and other environmental groups, and heads up Warner's environmental initiatives. Warner Studios is located adjacent to the River in Burbank.


Joe Edmiston serves as the first and only executive officer of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and is responsible for initiating, in the early 1990s, the Conservancy's programs along the River. He is widely recognized for preserving thousands of acres of environmentally sensitive open space in Southern California.


Tim Brick is the Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation. The Arroyo Seco, which flows from the mountains above Pasadena, is one of the principal tributaries of the L.A. River. He made history last year when he was elected to chair the powerful Metropolitan Water District board, the first environmentalist to serve in that position.


Lane Barden is a successful photographer and artist whose works, which include a set of aerials of the River, have been displayed in galleries and museums. He is also responsible for advocating the idea of using temporary dams to create a recreational "lake" in the River, an idea incorporated into the new Master Plan.


Rita Robinson, director of the Los Angeles City Sanitation Department, played a principal role in the development of the City's River Revitalization Master Plan. The Department has been continually supportive of FoLAR's annual River clean-ups. The Department's Stormwater Program addresses L.A. watershed issues and educates the public about the River.


It has been a busy year at FoLAR. The organization is currently conducting a scientific study of fish living in the River. The study is investigating the kinds of fish that are present, if they are toxic, and the manner in which they are caught and consumed. This spring, the Los Angeles Times covered the discovery of large carp---a non-native bottom feeder often seen as an indicator of a degraded ecosystem---in the River. Its appearance marks the first time in many years carp has been seen spawning there.


Every spring, FoLAR sponsors an annual clean-up event that mobilizes thousands of volunteers to remove trash from the banks of the River. In 2004, La Gran Limpieza became the largest urban river clean up in the country and the largest multi-cultural, multi-ethnic volunteer effort in California. FoLAR is planning additional cleanups with school groups next year, along with a major event in Long Beach, near the mouth of the River where it meets the Pacific Ocean.


FoLAR also recently launched the new Joseph Beuys Fellowship, named for the German artist who helped create the Green Party. FoLAR founder Lewis MacAdams is the first Beuys Fellow. Over the next two years, MacAdams will be re-focusing on FoLAR's artistic roots by strengthening the creative and cultural components of its work, working with other artists and cultural institutions to create exhibitions and speaking events. More information about the "Rivie" Awards and the Friends of the Los Angeles River can be found at (323) 223-0585 or on-line at www.folar.org. Additional information about the programs of the Arroyo Seco Foundation can be found at www.arroyoseco.org.