The River Project logo, designed by Arroyo Arts Collective artist Pearl Beach, represents a river nymph known as a Naiad, a minor divinity in Greek mythology. Naiads presided over rivers, streams, brooks, springs, fountains, lakes, ponds, wells and marshes.
Each Naiad was intimately connected to her body of water and her very existence depended on it. If a stream dried up, its Naiad expired. The waters over which Naiads presided were thought to be endowed with inspirational, medicinal or prophetic powers and the ancient Greeks frequently worshipped Naiads as divinities of healing, fertility and growth.
Our Naiad is surrounded by three key endangered species local to our region; an arroyo toad, a southern willow flycatcher and a steelhead trout. Once plentiful in our watershed, steelhead trout inhabit an entire river ecosystem and require clean, cool water year-round. It serves as a vital “indicator species” of the overall health of the Southern California aquatic ecosystems and our coastal watersheds. If we once again have healthy runs of steelhead, we almost certainly have healthy rivers and streams.
As for The River Project’s name: a river is like a report card for the watershed. It tells you what’s in or out of balance in the lands that feed it. Healthy rivers, creeks, and streams are critical for a climate-resilient future in Los Angeles (and for naiads).