Claire Robinson is the founder and director of Amigos de los Rios, a local non-profit that advocates for the preservation of the waterways and green spaces throughout the San Gabriel Valley watershed. In this image, she is photographed at Bosque del Rio Hondo county park.

Claire Robinson

The River Activist

Claire Robinson, founder and managing director of Amigos de los Rios, is standing on the banks of the Rio Hondo at El Bosque del Rio Hondo Park, part of the “Emerald Necklace” that connects pockets of nature through the western edge of the East San Gabriel Valley and beyond. “I don’t think many people know that you can actually encounter a part of our river system that is not in a trapezoidal or a box channel,” she says, describing the landscape around her. A tributary of the Los Angeles River, the Rio Hondo is just one of the many waterways that are part of the greater LA area watershed. It originates in the San Gabriel Mountains that tower over the East San Gabriel Valley, and runs parallel to the larger San Gabriel River. “When we first started working on the Emerald Necklace, we went directly to the source of the plants; some of the same riparian and coastal sage scrub that have been here for thousands of years are our mainstay for doing our restoration,” she explains. Claire is especially interested in getting young people to learn and care for the water that feeds them and this ecosystem. “If we are going to be here long term as a culture, the water is what allows us to do so.”