Glendale Councilwoman Laura Friedman

Glendale Councilwoman Laura Friedman speaks to the crowds in favor of Alternative 20 at Marsh Park during the Los Angeles River Rally, in Los Angeles on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. The rally was in support of the Alternative 20 plan, a $1.08-billion project that would add nearly 30 acres of wetlands to the Verdugo Wash in Glendale and widen the river. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / September 28, 2013)

Several people at a rally for the Los Angeles River Saturday held up homemade signs that said “Alternative 20,” which is the name of one plan proposed in a recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study.

The $1.08-billion project would add around 30 acres of wetlands to the Verdugo Wash in Glendale and widen the river. Advocates say the plan would support wildlife between the river and the Verdugo Mountains and protect the current ecosystem. Other plans, including a $453-million effort, leave out the Verdugo Wash and other areas, including the Los Angeles State Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles.

Standing in front of the river on Saturday, Glendale City Councilwoman Laura Friedman urged the crowd to push for the more comprehensive plan.

“For too long, the Los Angeles River has been seen as an inconvenience,” she said. “Well, it's not an inconvenience. It's the heartbeat of Los Angeles.”

Alternative 20 is the “only plan that makes sense,” she added.

Friedman has said residents should get involved in the issue. But when she asked the crowd who was from Glendale, only a few hands shot up.

“We're going to fix that, I guarantee it,” she sad. “At that next meeting, we're going to have Glendale represented.”

Montrose resident Bob Thompson, who biked to the event, said he supports the plan because it includes areas that are not represented in the other alternatives.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) released a statement on Friday advocating support for the $1-billion plan.

The Army Corps' report showcased several different alternatives for the restoration of the L.A. River,” he stated, “and it's now up to river advocates to push for an expansive plan that will make the river contiguous and includes significant ecological restoration.”

Schiff said that he recently took his son kayaking in the river, where he witnessed what he called a “wonderful habitat” that he hopes will be maintained.

Written public comments regarding the river restoration plans are being accepted by the Army Corps of Engineers until Nov. 5.

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