Compton Creek, an eight and a half-mile trickle of water that miraculously runs through some of L.A. County's grimiest landscapes, is a significant step closer to receiving an ecological makeover. On Wednesday the County Board of Supervisors, prodded by South L.A. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, unanimously agreed to support a master plan to resuscitate the creek, which on topographical paper is a major watershed. In reality, Compton Creek is afflicted with industrial runoff, illegally dumped trash and some of its stretches are lined with concrete.
The creek begins in Watts and winds towards Long Beach, where it drains into the Los Angeles River near Del Amo Boulevard. According to a statement from Ridley-Thomas' office, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have warned that Compton Creek's levy needs reinforcing to protect against flooding. Any time the Corps of Engineers enter the picture, of course, environmentalists' teeth begin to gnash. However, based on the high marks the Corps has received for their work on Bull Creek in the Sepulveda Basin, perhaps Compton Creek really can live up to its environmental potential without being turned into a miniature version of the California Aqueduct.
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See Judith Lewis' 2005 L.A. Weekly cover story on the creek and its charms, and the threats facing it.