Los Angeles County's Significant Ecological Areas Study

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ESA performed a study of the Los Angeles County’s Significant Ecological Areas (SEAs) as a major component of its 2000 General Plan Update. While the County had SEAs in place since an original report in 1972 that covered 176,000 acres, the updated SEA Study covers more than 440,000 acres—a significant increase of unincorporated areas of the county. The SEA Study focuses on open space and natural area resources, and puts forth policies for preserving and managing open space areas through preservation, acquisition, and easements. 
The SEA Study was a scientifically rigorous planning undertaking, which delineated realistic boundaries and improved overall project design. After a thorough review of existing resources documentation, our biologists facilitated 21 public workshops, garnering input from resource agencies and public interest groups. Biological resources assessments were individually conducted for a dozen regions, each with its own detailed report outlining land use and ownership, describing vegetation and wildlife, and discussing a list of sensitive species and habitats in the area. The reports also included recommended management practices to ensure the continuation of the ecological functions and biotic resources.
The study serves as a resource and planning tool to guide future project applicants, the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, the Significant Ecological Area Technical Advisory Committee (SEATAC), and County decision-makers in sound stewardship of the county’s biological resources. As an added resource, the team also provided a GIS-linked database for ease of searching through the data.

Specialized Services

  • Baseline protocol and surveys
  • Habitat evaluations
  • Special status species surveys and inventories