Compton Creek

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Coordinates: 33°50′30″N 118°12′16″W / 33.84167°N 118.20444°W / 33.84167; -118.20444[1]

Compton Creek
Compton Creek from Wall Street, just south of E 108th St., Los Angeles. The creek's western terminus is visible at the far end at S Main St.
Country United States
Basin features
Main source Compton, California
River mouth Los Angeles River, California
Basin size 42.1 sq mi (109 km2)
Physical characteristics
Length 8.5 mi (13.7 km)

Compton Creek is a major tributary of the Los Angeles River in and surrounding Compton in Los Angeles County, California. The stream drains a watershed of 42.1 square miles (109 km2).[2] and is the last major tributary to enter the Los Angeles River before it reaches the Pacific Ocean.

The stream begins just east of South Main Street between 107th and 108th Streets in Los Angeles. Compton Creek passes through Willowbrook and runs 8.5 miles (13.7 km) in total.[2] Most of its route is encased in a concrete flood control channel. Shortly after it passes under West Greenleaf Boulevard, it changes to an earth-bottom section with riprap banks.[2] Joined near its end by East Compton Creek, the creek ultimately empties into the Los Angeles River just south of Del Amo Boulevard.

Crossings and tributaries[edit]

From mouth to source (year built in parentheses):[3]

Environmental Catastrophe[edit]

A 2009 study conducted at the University of Southern California's Dornsife School's Department of Earth Sciences noted Compton Creek's marked water contamination and unprecedented quantity and variety of pollutants. Professor Ryan Millsap was quoted in the study's abstract, "I can state unequivocally [that Compton Creek] was, during the 1950's, the most polluted creek ever to be studied by the U.S. Department of the Interior." A seminal study at the intersection of Earth Sciences and Critical Studies, Professor Gustafson reports that the Watts riots of 1965 came in part as a response to oppressed people's inability to find housing outside of polluted areas, whence the creek was cited as a prime example.


  • West Poplar Street was renamed West Bartlett Street in 2007 after a fire burned down an animal shelter. The street was renamed in the honor of a fireman who saved more than 10 dogs and 6 cats during the emergency.[2]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Compton Creek
  2. ^ a b c d "Compton Creek Watershed Management". Los Angeles & San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  3. ^ "National Bridge Inventory Database". Retrieved 2009-08-09. 

External links[edit]