The U.S Army Corps of Engineers began installing barriers along the banks of a stretch of the Los Angeles River Thursday to prevent it from overflowing during anticipated El Nino storms.

Officials with the corps, along with city and county leaders, announced last week that the federal government had awarded more than $3 million in funds to help improve the capacity of the river along a stretch near Griffith Park. The announcement came in the aftermath of a series of storms that filled the normally dry riverbed with rain runoff.

Construction crews began the installation work Thursday, with the barricades of canvas, sand and mesh wire placed along a fraction of a mile.

In addition to adding the barriers along the river banks, the local district of the Corps of Engineers will also be removing vegetation from the riverbed that could impede the flow of stormwater near Riverside Drive and the Zoo Bridge.

“El Nino has made the river unpredictable through the spring and will press us to our limits,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The city has been “gearing up” for the rains in recent months, clearing 40,000 storm drains and so far giving out half a million sand bags, he said, and the city’s sanitation and street services departments have responded to hundreds of calls.

“This week’s rain was just the beginning,” Garcetti said last week. “It’s critical that we remain poised, and that we remain ready.”

—City News Service

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