Named for the Juan Jose Dominguez family who owned a tract of 75,000 acres of land (Rancho San Pedro) from the Los Angeles River west to the Pacific Ocean in the late 1700s, the Dominguez Channel watershed today includes not only a portion of San Pedro but the cities of Carson, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Lomita and Wilmington. The channel itself is a 15.7-mile long waterway that drains a 110-square mile watershed. Its headwaters begin in Hawthorne and it empties into the East Basin of the Port of Los Angeles.
Juan Jose Dominguez’s descendents began selling portions of Rancho San Pedro - it would later be known as Dominguez Ranch - to local farmers towards the end of the 19th century and the area remained rural until after World War II despite the discovery of oil in the area in the 1920s. Historically the southern end of the Dominguez watershed was made up of marshes and wetlands. It was dredged in the early 20th century to create the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors. The channelization of this stream in the 1960s ended ongoing flooding concerns and provided land for the construction of homes and businesses. Today water flowing through Dominguez Channel traverses through an area that is 96% developed.
Together with community organizations and environmental groups, the City of Los Angeles is working to improve water quality in Southern California. Projects throughout the watershed are improving water quality by reducing the amount of pollution flowing into rivers and creeks that drain into Dominguez Channel.