Los Angeles River Master Plan
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The Los Angeles River provides flood risk management for millions of Los Angeles County residents. In 1996, the Los Angeles County Public Works developed its first Los Angeles River Master Plan (Master Plan) to identify ways to improve the river and create community resources through aesthetic and recreational enhancement and flood control.

In 2018, the County hired Geosyntec to assist in updating the 1996 Master Plan to incorporate the wealth of knowledge developed over the past 20 years. The updated master plan creates continuous, healthy, and equitable open space and promotes water stewardship while maintaining flood risk management.

Geosyntec’s Scope of Services

As prime consultant, Geosyntec led a team of world-class subconsultants that included OLIN for landscape architecture, urban design, and planning; Gehry Partners for architecture and urban planning; and various other planners, nonprofits, and public facilitators. As part of the Master Plan update, Geosyntec reviewed existing river hydrology, water quality, and peak flow management, helping to establish a process for determining beneficial uses in and along the LA River.

Geosyntec also reviewed and updated hydrologic and hydraulic models and identified flood management system capacity, deficiencies, and the physical condition of river infrastructure. Items that the team also researched, summarized, and detailed in the Master Plan include existing ecosystem and habitat conditions, open space, recreation areas, and trails; significant community programming, cultural venues/institutions, and art policies and installations; operations and maintenance conditions; access, security, and safety conditions; and demographics, public health, and social equity issues.

The Geosyntec Team thoroughly addressed sustainability and resilience planning concerns by analyzing climate and resource data and predicting their effect on the future of the Los Angeles River. The team investigated opportunities for utilizing the channel right-of-way and immediately adjacent properties to create 51 miles of connected and accessible open space, capture water in the channel for aquifer recharge, and offer opportunities to improve water quality.

Approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in June of 2022, the updated Master Plan will serve as a guidance document that unites the 51-mile LA River, providing multi-benefit solutions for managing flood risk and creating continuous, healthy, and equitable open space. It unites regional scale planning with a robust implementation plan to tie proposals to clear funding paths through program-scale funding.

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Project Summary

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Client: Los Angeles County Public Works
  • Project Practice Areas: Water & Wastewater
  • Type of Facility: River
  • Services Provided: Flood Risk Management, Water Resources, Sustainability and Resiliency, Ecosystem Services, Access and Security, Community Programming, Operations and Maintenance Evaluation, Design and Urban Planning, Public Health and Social Equity, Displacement and Housing Stability, Community Engagement and Outreach, Steering Committee Facilitation
  • Type of Work: Water