Tuesday, August 4, 2009: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
Taos, Albuquerque Convention Center
Ellen Mackey, MWD of So Cal and LA and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council
Eric Stein, S. Ca. Coastal Water Research Program
The Los Angeles area is an underutilized laboratory of urban ecology. Los Angeles has one of the highest density urban landscapes in North America and includes some of the top universities in the country. Beginning in the early 20th century, local rivers were converted to highly managed storm water conveyance systems. Today, municipal decision-makers considering solutions for issues such as open space, parks, recreation, and health are looking to the river systems that conduct storm water quickly to the ocean. Planned “restoration" within the accompanying Right-of-Ways (ROWs) present opportunities to ask innumerable questions across differing scales: from individual plant species surviving in disturbed soils to broad landscape scale issues such as reestablishing linkages between previously isolated open space islands, and societal benefits from linear scapes that allow for walking, running, biking, equestrian trails without tangling with our infamous traffic. We lack basic ecological information on current wildlife use, genetic information in previously isolated resources, pliability of communities, etc. Funding for “restoration” projects ensures that project planning will accelerate. Information concerning the historic ecology, vegetation mapping, and wetlands mapping exists, but as these urban landscape projects move forward, basic information that gives a comparison picture is still lacking. We’re presenting current research and possible study areas to students and professionals who may need assistance focusing on a local research project. These projects have many advantages including: local experience, local contacts, proximity to study site, and proximity to advisors.