Don Kelsen / LAT
Healing ailing rivers is Mark Hill's specialty. So when the ecologist visits one of his works in progress, he's prepared to paddle a long and sinuous route to assess the health of his watery patient, in this case, the Lower Owens River. The 62-mile-long stretch was left essentially dry in 1913 after its flows of Sierra snowmelt were diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct. After decades of political bickering, water was directed back into the riverbed in December, launching the largest river restoration effort ever attempted in the West. Recently, Hill took his first survey of the river via kayak. He, and other scientists, have been pleasantly surprised by the river's recovery.
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