Southern California environment news and trends

Environmentalists seek help from Angelenos to map the city's uncounted small waterways

City of Los Angeles - Aerial mapping

The LA river and its tributary, the Tujunga Wash (under the 405 freeway) are well-known parts of the LA River watershed. The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission is looking for some of the less well known ones.

Today on the radio, I report on a call issued by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission to all Angelenos. They want your creeks and streams: the idea is to improve the city’s protection of these small watweways.

Advocates for the river, for these small waterways, argue that most of L.A.'s little streams are either gone or controlled in pipes and concrete channels. They hope to use new information in planning a stream protection ordinance in the city.

Landscape architect Jessica Hall, a longtime advocate for "daylighting" streams in LA, says the small waterways that remain can be sources of confusion for builders and urban planners."I’ve seen this situation a few times where because the creeks are not mapped," she says, "building and safety officials aren’t aware of their presence and don’t know to take the steps that they need to take to protect the streams when a neighbor comes in and wants to McMansionize their property."