Protecting Our River

Our Mission

To create a community to monitor and protect the biodiversity of the L.A. River and its tributaries.

About Us

Protecting Our River ( is a community engagement project that mobilizes L.A. residents from a variety of backgrounds to help monitor the biodiversity of the L.A. River and its tributaries. We aim to increase community awareness and participation in conservation of biodiversity by merging science, art, and community involvement. We hope to serve as an example to show how scientists, neighborhood leaders, conservation groups, writers, community scientists, educators, students, and artists can work together to address environmental issues.

This project is led by CALeDNA, a University of California community science initiative that aims to monitor California’s biodiversity through environmental DNA (eDNA) – the DNA organisms shed into the environment. Community scientists, who are volunteers that participate in scientific research, collect soil and water samples throughout California. UC researchers analyze the eDNA in these samples and identify the microbes, fungi, plants, and animals in the area. By monitoring all seven kingdoms of life, researchers can study components of the food web, track pathogens, discover new species, and find species that drive changes in an ecosystem. Since its launch in 2017, over 1,300 community scientists have collected samples from over 1,600 sites.


Results from the Pilot Supported by Metabolic Studio

Year One Plan

Future Work