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#SummerScienceFriday | Kicking-off Summer Safety and LARWMP Monitoring

It’s that time of year again… the Council for Watershed Health is back with #SummerScienceFridays!

A crowd of people gather around the Eaton Canyon swimming site on Memorial Day 2018.

A crowd of people gather around the Eaton Canyon sampling site (LALT204) on Memorial Day 2018.

As we eagerly greet the summer season, it is important that we all remember to act as stewards of our waters. If you’re not sure where to start, you can begin by tuning in to UPSTREAM each Friday throughout the summer to learn more about watershed health. Each week, we will work to connect the LA community to our waterways and encourage everyone to take action as watershed stewards.


This past Memorial Day, the CWH Science Team witnessed countless hikers enjoying the scenic routes of the Upper Los Angeles River Watershed. Memorial Day marked the launch of the 2018 recreational season on the LA River, which means CWH hit the trails to collect the first samples of the Los Angeles River Water Monitoring Program (LARWMP) season. As we watch people engage with nature along the river, we are reminded why programs like LARWMP are so important.

A brief history...

The LARWMP program was collaboratively developed in 2008 by the Cities of Los Angeles and Burbank along with partners such as the Council for Watershed Health and Aquatic Bioassay and Consulting Laboratories, to monitor water quality and stream health in order to strengthen management of the LA River. The “Safe to Recreate” program within LARWMP monitors water quality at regulated and unregulated recreational sites. LARWMP monitoring occurs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, particularly during high-use periods such as weekends and holidays. While the results of each monitoring season are always made available, in the form of an annual report and under our Monitoring Reports tab, this season water quality data is coming to the public in a quicker, even more accessible way via LA Sanitation’s website.

Summer Safety on the River

The tool posts the most recent E.coli levels in the Sepulveda Basin and Elysian Valley Recreation Zones and at other unregulated swim sites. Now, before heading out for a swim or kayak tour, people can check the most recent E. coli levels for each site via a data spreadsheet with corresponding status labels. Sites are given a status label of open, caution or closed depending on the levels of E.coli measured in water samples.

LASAN asks that all users follow water safety procedures at all times:

  • Do not swallow the water

  • Do not swim with open wounds

  • Avoid swimming within 72 hours of a rain event

  • Avoid water if you have a suppressed immune system

  • Avoid any water contact at sites labeled “closed”

A goal of CWH is to provide people with the resources to engage with the river in a healthy and safe manner, so check out the Los Angeles River Quality Status to keep yourself and your family healthy this summer!

The Los Angeles River Watershed provides us with valuable resources such as beautiful habitat, recreational activities and fish. Its sustained health requires coordinated and inclusive management which empowers community members to act as watershed stewards. If we are all to enjoy the nature and wildlife of our watershed, we must remember to follow safety precautions and help keep waterways clean by removing trash, food, diapers and dog waste when visiting recreational sites.

To learn more about recreating in the river and streams safely, check out our River Resources page.

If you’re interested in learning more about LARWMP and reading previous annual reports, please visit our LA River Monitoring Program page.

If you have any questions for our science team about what we do, the LA River, the watershed, or topics you would like to learn about in future #SummerScienceFriday posts, you can submit them here.

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