Creating Enhanced Watersheds


They greeted each other as old friends, enthusiastically shaking hands and smiling at one another. They reminisced about their work over the last few decades and spoke excitedly about the task ahead of them. They used acronyms like IRWMP, and BMP and IRP and no one asked for clarification. They nodded in unison when speakers talked of the water challenges facing Southern California and chuckled when a speaker referred to today as a “watershed moment.”  And, then this group of 150 people – LA’s “environmental family” representing more than 50 municipalities, environmental agencies and community organizations – rolled up their sleeves and began sharing their ideas, the first step in developing plans for Los Angeles’ five watersheds at the April 10th Enhanced Watershed Management Plan Workshop.

So what exactly is an Enhanced Watershed Management Plan (or EWMP)? It’s basically a document that will provide a road map for municipalities throughout Los Angeles’ to simultaneously comply with federal water quality mandates, improve the quality of our rivers, creeks and beaches, and address current and future regional water supply challenges.  These watershed plans will identify current and future multi-benefit projects that will capture, treat and use or infiltrate as much rain water as possible. “Our goal in developing Enhanced Watershed Management Plans for Los Angeles’ watersheds is to develop plans that provide both water quality and water supply solutions,” stated Traci Minamide, Chief Operating Officer for LA Sanitation.  “It incorporates a lot of the work that has already been done in the area of water quality improvement, and in a focused effort, moves us to the next level of looking at all water as one water.”

Over the next 15 months, watershed management groups in each of LA’s five watersheds, which include the Upper Los Angeles River, Ballona Creek, Santa Monica Bay, Dominguez Channel and Marina del Rey, will work together to craft Enhanced Watershed Management Plans for their individual watersheds. This work will include prioritizing water quality issues, identifying larger regional projects and smaller distributed projects (think residential rain barrels), creating a schedule for implementation, developing an estimated cost and identifying a process to adapt and modify the plan as it is being implemented. It’s a huge effort and there’s not much time to get it all completed. The five Enhanced Watershed Management Plans are due to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board by June 28, 2015. The implementation, operations and monitoring of these plans and projects will continue for years to come.

If you’re interested in getting involved in this process, we welcome your participation. Do you know of a water quality project in your watershed that would fit nicely with the goals of the EWMP? If so, please use our EWMP Project Submission Form to submit your project idea for consideration. Project idea submissions are due by July 1, 2014. We look forward to hearing from you and working together to create enhanced watersheds throughout Los Angeles.


Comments (5)

  1. Esther Krisman
    April 25th, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    How can I get involved in the Enhanced Watershed Management plan?

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      April 29th, 2014 at 6:37 am

      Hi Esther.

      Thanks so much for wanting to get involved. We’re in the planning stages right now, so if you know of a water quality project in your watershed, we’d love to hear about it. Just fill out the EWMP Project Submission Form. And if you need to figure out which watershed you live in, you can use this handy tool.

  2. Lucy Garcia
    April 27th, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    We are organizing a Green Festival at Van Nuys High School on May 16 in the afternoon, 1-5 pm. Would your organization like to participate by having a table and/or making a 5 minute talk about 4 or 5 times to different groups of students and parents? Please text me at 818-618-3831 or call between 11:20 am and 1 pm or after 3 pm. Thanks!

  3. Douglas Fay
    June 8th, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Please provide your name a.k.a. LA Stormwater, so I know who is responding. I attended this event and noticed that the proposed Oxford Basin project does not meet EWMP goals for recharge, recycling, preventing and/or reducing stormwater from entering sensitive habitat areas, and most importantly, identifying nearby locations for a recycling and reuse facility. The City of LA’s underutilized and recently vandalized Thatcher Maintenance Yard is the only location within the Oxford Triangle where this could happen. Why is it absent and the proposed project moving forward? Please contact me by email. Together in 2014, Doug Fay

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      LA Stormwater
      June 9th, 2014 at 10:38 am

      Hi Douglas,
      I have forwarded your comments on to our engineers who are overseeing the EWMP here at LA Stormwater. If you do not hear back from them in a timely manner, you are welcome to contact me at [email protected] and I will follow up with them.
      Thank you,
      Joyce Amaro

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