The Importance of Restoring Degraded Lands in Los Angeles County

What is the per­cent­age of land area in Los Ange­les Coun­ty ded­i­cat­ed to region­al recre­ation and con­ser­va­tion? Which areas of L.A. coun­ty should be pri­or­i­tized for envi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion and restora­tion? What is the acreage of park­land in the rur­al por­tions of the coun­ty? How many miles of region­al trails are there and where are they locat­ed? 

The Los Ange­les Coun­ty of Super­vi­sors just approved a study that answers these and more. Called the 2022 Needs Plus (PNA+), this report com­ple­ments and offers infor­ma­tion not pre­vi­ous­ly includ­ed in the 2016 Los Ange­les Coun­ty­wide Parks and Recre­ation Needs Assess­ment (PNA). Specif­i­cal­ly, PNA+ con­tains data and analy­ses in sup­port of expand­ing land con­ser­va­tion and restora­tion, tran­sit to parks, and oth­er strate­gies to meet region­al and rur­al recre­ation needs, espe­cial­ly in the most vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties.

The PNA+ is L.A. Coun­ty’s 30x30 strat­e­gy which aligns with state and goals to con­serve 30 per­cent of lands and coastal waters by the year 2030 to fight cli­mate change and advance bio­di­ver­si­ty and con­ser­va­tion. PNA+ address­es both envi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion and restora­tion.  It iden­ti­fies pri­or­i­ty areas for envi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion which are areas that the most envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits as mea­sured by species diver­si­ty, sig­nif­i­cant habi­tat, habi­tat con­nec­tiv­i­ty, prox­im­i­ty to a water­body, and habi­tat type. Exam­ples of these areas include por­tions of the Ante­lope Val­ley, Puente-Chi­no Wildlife Cor­ri­dor, San Gabriel Moun­tains, San­ta Mon­i­ca Moun­tains, and San­ta Clari­ta Val­ley which are not cur­rent­ly owned and man­aged by pub­lic agen­cies and con­ser­van­cies.

The study also calls out pri­or­i­ty areas for envi­ron­men­tal restora­tion. These are areas that have the most envi­ron­men­tal bur­dens with respect to ground­wa­ter threat, haz­ardous waste, poor air and water , and pol­lu­tion bur­den. Exam­ples include oil fields (such as the Ingle­wood Oil Field in Bald­win Hills), brown­fields, land­fills (such as the Puente Hills Land­fill), and oth­er lands which may be con­vert­ed to parks and open space in the . The restora­tion of degrad­ed lands is of great impor­tance and a mat­ter of envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice in Los Ange­les Coun­ty where numer­ous under­served com­mu­ni­ties are plagued with envi­ron­men­tal bur­dens.

Based on its key find­ings, PNA+ offers var­i­ous rec­om­men­da­tions and next steps which are explained in detail in the report and orga­nized by the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories: fund­ing pri­or­i­ties; park, trail, and open space pro­vi­sion; col­lab­o­ra­tion and coor­di­na­tion; access and infor­ma­tion; com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment; and capac­i­ty build­ing.

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