Click HERE for a Regional Trail Map of the Basin (13.26MB pdf file) – Click HERE for a local trail map of the Wildlife Reserve

Turn north from Burbank Blvd. (or south from Victory Blvd.) onto Woodley Ave., which is mile west of the San Diego Freeway (I-405). Travel about mile to the sign for the Wildlife Reserve (and Japanese Gardens). Turn east onto Wildlife Way, a park road. Bear right at the immediate fork in the road and go east mile to the Wildlife Reserve parking on your left. The Wildlife Reserve is to the south...follow the trail down from the restrooms area. To use online mapping programs, use 6100 Woodley Avenue, and that will take you to the park road (“Wildlife Way”) leading to the Wildlife Reserve’s parking lot at the road’s east end. Park in the lot, then walk south past the monumental rocks and restroom building to the amphitheater. Follow the trail leading from the "stonehenge" restroom/amphitheatre area south towards the entrance to the Wildlife Reserve.
You can walk all the way down to the LA River, but if you do (the trail leads through a tunnel under Burbank Blvd.) be sure to go with another person.


February 9, 2019, 9am-noon (Second Saturdays)
Sepulveda Basin Bird Walk
Join us on San Fernando Valley Audubon’s renowned birds-and-nature walks for families and beginners.  Stroll through the lovely Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve with a guide, enjoying its trails and wildlife lake.  Many kinds of birds are found here, along with lizards, cottontail rabbits, butterflies, fish and more.  Learn about the plants and birds and see them up close.  Learn why this is a special place. 
Second Saturdays, 9:00 A.M.  2019
: Mar. 9.
These Walks are for families with school-age children and beginning birdwatchers, including first timers.
Time and Meeting Place: 
The Wildlife Area entrance and amphitheater are in the southeast part of Woodley Park. 
Meet at the amphitheater at 9:00 AM.

 Driving on Woodley Ave. north from Burbank or south from Victory Blvd., go mile and turn east at the sign for the Japanese Garden. Continue straight (don’t turn into the garden) and drive past the Cricket Fields and around the tree in the middle of the road, on to the parking lot at the end of the road.  Meet at amphitheater.  GPS coordinates to parking:  34.179942,-118.472595. 
Equipment and Clothing:
  Wear sturdy shoes and layered clothing.  A cap or hat with a brim is suggested. 
We have binoculars to loan or you can use your own.

More Information:
Muriel Kotin at 310.457-5796, Diana Keeney at 818.998-3216 or visit San Fernando Valley Audubon's website Reservations are not needed except for large groups.   Heavy rain cancels.

March 3, 2019, 8am-11:30am (Sunday)
Sepulveda Basin Bird Walk

First Sunday, monthly. Meet at 8:00 a.m. Directions: Exit the San Diego Freeway (I-405) on Burbank Blvd.
Go west about 1/2 mile to the first possible right turn, Woodley Ave. Turn north (right) on Woodley.
Travel about 1/2 mile to the second possible right turn (at sign for the Water Reclamation Plant and Japanese Garden).
Turn and go east about 1/2 mile to Wildlife Area parking at the end of the road. Look for people with binoculars.
For more info, call 747-444-9683. Sponsored by San Fernando Valley Audubon Society.

March 26, 2019,  6:30 - 9:00pm (Tuesday)
Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area Steering Committee Meeting

Public Welcome
Balboa Sports Center, 17015 Burbank Bl., Encino, California 91316

April 13, 2019,  8:30am - Noon (Saturday)
Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve Spring Creek Clean-up

Haskell Creek, where it runs through Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve, hosts many riparian trees and shrubs, such as cottonwoods and willows.  Songbirds forage and nest in the trees, while egrets and herons fish in this heart of the Wildlife Area.  Presently it is infested with trash.  Please help clean up the mess, restoring our lovely creek!

Equipment and Clothing:  You will get muddy and maybe wet.  Please wear rugged clothing and shoes or rubber boots.  If you have them, bring work gloves and long-handled tools to reach trash.

Directions: The Wildlife Reserve is east of Woodley Ave. about a half mile north of Burbank Blvd. Turn east at the sign for the Japanese Garden (6100 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys, CA. 91406), stay to the right, and follow Wildlife Way about a half mile, going half way around a traffic circle, to the parking area at the end of the road.  Meet at the amphitheater behind the rock-faced buildings.

More Information:  The event is appropriate for adults and students who are accompanied by an adult.  Students can get certificates and earn community service hours.  Rain cancels.                     

Educational Activities:  To support the clean-up, the Resource Conservation District, on behalf of the LA River Master Plan, will offer hands-on activities to help the public learn more about Sepulveda Basin and the LA River.

Questions: 310.457-5796 (Muriel) or 818.998-3216 (Diana)

Sponsored by San Fernando Valley Audubon

In conjunction with Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Areas Steering Committee


About this Website
SBWASC Mission Statement
This website is sponsored by the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Areas Steering Committee (SBWASC) that has been meeting monthly since June 1990. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks concerning the operation, maintenance, and improvement of the existing wildlife areas and any future expansion thereof. The Committee may also make recommendations on matters concerning flora, fauna, and other natural resources in other areas within the Sepulveda Basin, such as the Los Angeles River and its tributaries, park land, and open spaces.

The membership of the Committee is comprised of organizations with a demonstrated interest in flora, fauna, and other natural resources within the Sepulveda Basin. See the bottom of this page to see the logos of the member organizations and other affiliated agencies, or click the tab at the top of the page.

Minutes of the SBWASC can be found here.

Regular meetings of the Committee are held every other month generally on the fourth Tuesday at 6:30pm, at the Valley Region Headquarters of the Dept. of Recreation and Parks, 6335 Woodley Avenue, Van Nuys, CA 91406. See “Upcoming Events” on this page for next meeting.


Turn north from Burbank Blvd. (or south from Victory Blvd.) onto Woodley Ave., which is mile west of the San Diego Freeway (I-405). Travel about mile to the sign for the Wildlife Reserve (and Japanese Gardens).
Turn east onto Wildlife Way, a park road.

Bear right at the immediate fork in the road and go east mile to the Wildlife Reserve parking on your left. The Wildlife Reserve is to the south...follow the trail down from the restrooms area.

To use online mapping programs, use 6100 Woodley Avenue, and that will take you to the park road (“Wildlife Way”) leading to the Wildlife Reserve’s parking lot at the road’s east end.

Park in the lot, then walk south past the monumental rocks and restroom building to the amphitheater.
Follow the trail leading from the "stonehenge" restroom/amphitheatre area south towards the entrance to the Wildlife Reserve.

You can walk all the way down to the LA River, but if you do (the trail leads through a tunnel under Burbank Blvd.) be sure to go with another person.

Click HERE for A Regional Trail Map of the Basin (13.26MB pdf file)
Click HERE for a local trail map of the Wildlife Reserve
The “Public Recreational Use Plan Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area” was signed and agreed to in 1987 by the City of Los Angeles, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the State of California Department of Fish and Game (copy attached). The “Public Access and Use” section (beginning on Page 6) provides, in part, as follows:

"Therefore the following rules and/or regulations will be enforced within the Wildlife Area by City park rangers and City police. These rules will be incorporated in appropriate public use information signs and posted at the entrance and appropriate locations with the wildlife area.

1. Public use shall be allowed on the Wildlife Area during daylight hours only.

2. Camping, open fires, and the use of gas cooking stoves on the Wildlife Area is prohibited.

3. All visitors shall remain on the designated trail. There will be no public access to the east side of the wildlife lake to prevent disturbance to wildlife.

4. Bicycles, skateboards, or rollerskating will not be allowed in the Wildlife Area.

5. No person shall drive, operate, leave or stop any motor vehicle, off-road vehicle, or tractor in the Wildlife Management Area except for maintenance vehicles.

6. No person shall swim, wade, or dive within the Wildlife Area.

7. No person shall launch or operate a boat or other floating device within the Wildlife Area.

8. No person shall disturb or take any bird, nest, or eggs thereof, or any plant, mammal, fish, mollusk, crustacean, amphibian, reptile or any other form of plant or animal within the Wildlife Area.

9. No person shall possess, fire or discharge any firearm, bow and arrow, air or gas gun, spear gun, or any other weapon of any kind within or into the Wildlife Area.

10. Individual user permits will not be required; however, a visitor sign-in booth will be located at the entrances and will be maintained by the City.

11. All commercial activities are prohibited on the Wildlife Area. Large organizational groups of over 50 people will require prior Parks and Recreation (City) approval before use of the Wildlife Area. Permit Office 818-756-8187

12. The release of any fish or wildlife species, domestic or domesticated species, or the introduction of any plant species, is prohibited.

13. The feeding of wildlife is prohibited.

14. Pets, including dogs, cats and horses are prohibited from entering the Wildlife Area."

Recommendations for recreational users include:
- No swimming
- After rain, wait 72 hours before entering recreational zones
- Avoid face-to-hand river water contact
- Wash hands and exposed skin after water contact

The mission of the Committee shall be to oversee, in its advisory capacity, the wildlife refuge areas and other areas of present or potential natural value within the Sepulveda Basin, as well as to support policies and programs that ensure their long-term preservation, protection, and enhancement.

Article 3, Section 63.44 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code contains Regulations Affecting Park and Recreation Areas.  63.44 B-2 mandates that all dogs be on a leash less than 6 feet long, B.8.   'No person shall land, release, take off or fly any balloon, except children toy balloons not inflated with any flammable material, helicopter, parakeet, hang glider, aircraft or powered models thereof, except in areas specifically set aside therefor, B-10 prohibits bows or crossbows, B-11 prohibits the take/seizure/hunting of all birds/animals/fish, B-12 bans the removal of wood/plants/rocks/soil, B-13 makes it illegal to deface any property (including plants), B-14 prohibits all loitering between 10:30 PM and 5:00 AM, B-16 prohibits all human or motor powered vehicles (except on trails or roads specifically for that purpose), B-17 bans all fires, B-19 prohibits littering, B-21 bans firearms.


Who to Call

For emergency (life-threatening) situations:  

1.      LAPD -- 911.

2.      Park Ranger Dispatch – 323-644-6661

If you witness people shooting birds or other wildlife:

1.      LAPD – 911

2.      Park Ranger Dispatch – 323-644-6661

3.      California Fish & Wildlife –

For non-emergency problems (examples: dogs off leash, fishing,
hunting without firearms, off trail hiking, parking on grass):

1.      Call 1-888-ASK-LAPD
(or 1-888-275-5273)

2.      California Fish & Wildlife –
(hunting or fishing)

For CF&W, a recording will come on and give you a menu. PRESS ZERO for the operator and the operator will ask for the "violation in progress" and your location and transfer you to the applicable Fish and Game division department. State that Warden Kory Collins is in charge of the area and should be notified of the problem.

LA City Animal Services West Valley
818-756-9325 and 818-756-9356

California Wildlife Center
310-456-9453 or 818-222-2658


Wildlife Sightings and Photo Links

October 16, 2016 A Snowy egret scratches itself. Photograph by David Berman.

National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count (December 2014)

Sepulveda Basin won the award for the most number of Unique Species. Kris Ohlenkamp, who has counted this sector continuously since 1982, recorded 85 species, his highest total ever, with 15 unique species, including Ross’s Goose, Mute Swan, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Western Grebe, Green Heron,Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Bonaparte’s Gull,
Thayer’s Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Peregrine Falcon, Yellow
-chevroned Parakeet, and Brownheaded Cowbird.
Uncommon birds included Red-throated Loon at Lake Balboa, the second in the history of the San Fernando Valley CBC. The first was recorded in 1957, the first year of the count. Also seen at the Sepulveda Basin were four Bonaparte’s Gulls, last counted in 1994 and the second record of Thayer’s Gull, last sighted in 2002. A Brewer’s Sparrow was seen at Sepulveda Basin during count week, marking the first recorded in the circle.

 December 2016 An Ibis at the boat ramp with a yellowthroat. Photograph by Pat Bates.

The county’s second Glossy Ibis was found in the Sepulveda Basin on May 24, 2016 (Mike Stensvold).  Though nearly annual in Imperial County - and with a few records from adjacent counties- this was the first chaseable bird in Los Angeles County.  It remained through June 5 and offered many birders an excellent and easy opportunity to observe it.  

October 23, 2015 A rare coastal slope Long-eared Owl was at the Sepulveda Basin (Daniel Tinoco).

January 14, 2014
A Bald Eagle was seen over Lake Balboa (Daniel Tinoco).

January 5, 2014 Kris Ohlenkamp observed a Swamp Sparrow.

November 29, 2013 A Tennessee Warbler was seen at the Sepulveda Basin. Also seen was an American Redstart (Jim Royer).

Turkey Vulture (below)
Photo by Armando Paniagua, Lake Balboa resident, Nov. 15, 2013.

November 10, 2013
One or two Mountain Bluebirds were seen at Lake Balboa (Daniel Tinoco)

October 24-November 3, 2013
A rare Red-throated Pipit – the second in LA County this fall was at the Sepulveda Basin (David Bell).

October 25, 2013
A returning Ash-throated Flycatcher was at Sepulveda Basin.

October 24, 2013 Cackling Geese
were seen on Woodley Golf Course (Irwin Woldman)

October 23, 2013 Northern "Yellow-shafted" Flickers
at the Wildlife Reserve (Georgia Doyle, Linda Elkin)

September 26, 2013
Rare on the coastal slope was a Prairie Falcon that overflew the Sepulveda Basin in Van Nuys (Mike Stensvold).

August 24, 2013 Unusual more than a short distance from the immediate coast was a Brown Pelican at Lake Balboa (Mike Stensvold).
This sighting coincided with reports of several others well inland in southern California, but away from the Salton Sea where they are common.

July 28, 2013 A Willow Flycatcher in suitable breeding habitat along the LA River in the Sepulveda Basin on July 28 (Jon Fisher) was interesting but probably an early
migrant as it was soon followed by others elsewhere in the county.

July 23–31, 2013 Cackling Goose was at the Sepulveda Basin in Van Nuys by Kate Rogowski.

July 22, 2013 Lynda Elkin observed an Indigo Bunting at Lake Balboa.

March 12, 2012 Steve Hartman observed a dark-form pealei  Peregrine Falcon perched on a cottonwood on the island in the North Reserve in the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve. Confirming the sighting and providing the subspecies was Jean Brandt and Phil Sayre.

February 26, 2012
Found at least nine Wilson's Snipes around the Los Angeles River, South of Burbank Blvd. at the Sepulveda Basin [very close to the Sepulveda Dam].
At the same area, a White-tailed Kite flew-over at 3:30 PM. There were also two Red-tailed Hawks, one adult Cooper's Hawk, and one Turkey Vulture.
Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

December 2011
Steve Hartman photographed the above Wood Duck at the Wildlife Lake.

On December 9, P-A. Fortin from Quebec, Canada, photographed a pelican with a red tag that might read 3C3 or 3C9. In November of 2012, pelican with red tag was seen again.

December 9, 2011 in the afternoon two immature Bonaparte's Gulls were seen at Lake Balboa in Encino.  At the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
10+ White Pelicans were spotted on and around the island. In the fields (at 4:30PM),  one female Northern Harrier, one American Kestrel and one
Cooper's Hawk were seen. You may view photos of the Bonaparte's Gulls and some other species here:
Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

November 6, 2011 between 11 AM and 1 PM, six American White Pelicans flew over the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve.
Witnessed an aerial duel between a Kestrel and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. There was no winner in that
dog-fight, the two raptors harassed each other for a minute and then just parted their ways.
Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

Early November Steve Hartman (and others) saw a White-tailed Kite perched on a cottonwood tree near the Wildlife Lake.

October 31, 2011
A Vesper Sparrow was feeding in a small newly plowed area just east of the Wildlife Area Lake. On October 30, 2011
the other Vesper Sparrow continued at its spot by the river. Also, a Cassin's Vireo was in the trees west of the cricket practice field bathrooms
and a Red-breasted Sapsucker has set-up sap wells in the ash trees near the Wildlife Area's north entrance.
Submitted by Scott Logan

October 29, 2011 Visited for a few hours in the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve in the evening. I observed a fly-over the lake a group of eight White Pelicans
at 5:30 PM. They were circling above the wildlife reserve lake for a few minutes, considering landing but I haven't seen them land. Perhaps all those
illegal fishermen scared them away. It's very sad how many people with fishing rods were present around the whole perimeter of the lake bluntly
ignoring all those "NO FISHING" posts. Seems like nobody enforces the law at the wildlife reserve. 
According to the eBird, the last sighting of White Pelicans at the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve (prior to the today's) was on March 29, 2011. 
I took a short video of White Pelicans that I uploaded via youtube:
And here's one of my today's pictures:
Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

September 24, 2011 Steve Hartman spotted a group of what were likely Vaux swifts. Silhouette above is from photo Steve took with his iPhone.

September 23, 2011 I re-found the Orange Bishop at Sepulveda Basin - South from Burbank Blvd. (along LA river between Sepulveda Dam and
Burbank Blvd). It's a very handsome bird indeed. By the way, I just received the newest issue of the Birding journal (a
publication by the American Birding Association), which has a very interesting article written by Kimball Garrett about exotic birds of
California. If you are interested in those birds, that's the article for you.
The links to some of my today's photos of the Bishop, etc:
and a slide-show:

Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

September 22, 2011 Baird's Sandpiper in the LA River in the Sepulveda Basin (Scott Logan)

September 21-22, 2011 Palm Warbler at the Sepulveda Basin (Danial Tinoco)

September 18, 2011 Summer Tanager (Scott Logan)

August 9-12, 2011 Black Skimmer at Lake Balboa (Kate Rogowski)

July 14, 2011
Loggerhead Shrike (Scott Logan). This species used to be common in the Basin but it is now rarely seen,
only breeding regionally in the deserts and the northwest LA county.

July 6, 2011
Least Bell's Vireo seen and heard. Click HERE for link to YouTube video to hear the vireos. (Steve Hartman and Kris Ohlenkamp)

May 14, 2011
Elegant Tern in the Sepulveda Basin  (Jon Fisher)

April 10, 2011
Yellow-headed Blackbirds at Lake Balboa (Kate Rogowski).

March 10
, 2011 At least seven Eared Grebes at Lake Balboa in Van Nuys in the late afternoon. They appeared to be in various stages between
non-breeding and breeding plumages.

Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

December 5
  Broad-winged Hawk Continues [In Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve, first reported 12/4/10 as light juvenile 1st year Broad-winged Hawk
by Susan Gilliland]: The hawk continues in the area NE of Burbank and Woodley. It has been moving from the edge of Woodley as far east as the tree line
along the stream. Submitted by Todd McGrath

December 4, 2010 - between 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM, I was trying to locate the swan at Lake Balboa that was reported earlier. I haven't found it.  However,
I did see and photograph a Common Loon on the lake. Here's the photo:
Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

On November 7, 2010 I visited Lake Balboa where I found - thanks to all prior postings - at least two maybe three Common Loons and a number of Eared
. You may view some of my today's photos here:
or a slide-show: . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

On November 5, 2010, at around 5:00 PM I observed a Peregrine Falcon flying across the cricket field - north from the road that leads from the Japanese Garden to the main parking lot. It was flying very fast and I wasn't ready when I spotted it, which  is why the photo is not great but OK for ID:
I saw only one Osprey at the time when I was there but it posed for me nicely:
Among other raptors, I also found one Red-tailed Hawk and one American Kestrel. Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

I was able to spot and photograph a Sabine's Gull today (October 8, 2010) at Lake Balboa. The Gull was hunting for fish in a very similar to the terns' fashion   plunging into the water head first. I witnessed (together with Tommye Hite) how the Gull caught a fish and then landed on the water, trying to arrange the fish in its beak to swallow. In a matter of seconds, a much larger Ring-billed Gull descended on the Sabine's. The Ring-billed harassed the Sabine's and forced the smaller Gull to drop the fish. That's our "Welcome" from the locals to such rare visitors...Besides the Sabine's Gull, I also observed 12 Greater White-fronted Goose. You may view some of my today's photos, including the Sabine's Gull here: or a slide-show: . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

I spotted one flying male Wood Duck that attached itself to a small group of mallards (two males and one female) today (October 3, 2010) in the evening at
Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve in Van Nuys (at North Reserve - North from Burbank Blvd.) and I saw a silhouette of a white-faced ibis at the same location at 6:25 PM that was landing on the island in the middle of the lake. According to the Sepulveda Basin Bird Checklist, wood ducks are rare visitors at
this location, being recorded in November - December. You may view three of my today's photos here: . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

September 19, 2010 Special Report. I spotted two White-faced Ibises today (Sept 19) @ Sepulveda Basin (south from Burbank Blvd.) between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM. I also noted one lesser yellowlegs and one greater yellowlegs among usual snowy egrets and killdeers. I uploaded three of my today's photos on Flicker: or a slide-show: . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

Highlights of the
August 1, 2010 morning's walk included 2 juvenile Cooper's Hawk, 4 snowy egret chicks on and near a nest on the Wildlife Lake Island (we think the first year nesting of this species has been observed here), a recently fledged Black-necked Stilt feeding in the LA River, a first-of-season Lesser Yellowlegs and 4 Yellow Warblers. Click HERE for a complete list including 47 species. Submitted by Jim Hardesty.

On July 10, 2010, between 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM, I visited Los Angeles River by the Sepulveda Dam - South from Burbank Blvd. / Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve. A few Wilson's Phalaropes were observed there recently. I did find two of them today, they were foraging in the shallow water among multiple black-necked stilts and killdeers. There were also different butterflies all around. I'm attaching a list of birds that I submitted via the e-bird and you may view some of my today's photos here: or a slide show: . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky

June 26, 2010. I visited Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve today in the morning between 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM. The morning was very cloudy. At 10:35 AM, a Barn Owl appeared right in front of me out of nowhere. It was the first time that I observed a Barn Owl flying at this time of a day at Sepulveda Basin. Besides the Owl, I also watched a few aerial chases: a Crow was harassing a Turkey Vulture and a Western Kingbird was after a Red-tailed Hawk. You may view some of my today's photos via Flickr: and slide-show: . Submitted by Alexander Viduetsky


Pelican Injured at Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Lake Is Healthy Again, Released Back Into the Wild

                                                                                 Photo (above) by Jim Hanlon

The release happened Saturday, December 1, around 11:00 AM. The International Bird Rescue released two rehabilitated white pelicans: "our" white pelican that had been found ensnared in fishing line and a plastic bottle at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve and a second one that had been found in Long Beach with a broken bill. On hand were the IBR's board president Dave Weeshoff and the manager of their San Pedro wildlife center Julie Skoglund; two officers from the City of Los Angeles SMART Team; a troop of Eagle Scout candidates; members of San Fernando Valley Audubon, local photographers and a photographer from the Los Angeles Times.

Earlier in the morning a group of around 55 volunteers from a variety of local colleges planted California native plants such as California Rose, California Grape, and Hummingbird Sage, scattered California wildflower seed, and picked up litter. The pelican release was a wonderful finale. The weather was cooperative and probably ideal for the activities.
A very fine rain began after the pelicans were released.

For even more -- but excellent -- photos of the white pelican release, please see the link to the International Bird Rescue's blog: .
Click HERE for the story from the Encino Patch. Click HERE for the story from the Army Corp's newsletter.

By Muriel Kotin


Senate Bill 1201 legalizes access to the soft-bottom reaches of the L.A. River.  It will also create a Los Angeles River Interagency Access
Council, which the Bill states is to coordinate the actions of state and local agencies with jurisdiction over, or otherwise involved in developing
and administering public access and safety policies for, the Los Angeles River.

To read the Senate Bill, click HERE.

To see a YouTube video of a kayak trip along the LA River during the 2011 pilot program click HERE

Community Conservation Solutions Releases Feasibility Studies for L.A. River Natural Park

The L.A. River Natural Park: Technical Feasibility Studies Report
L.A. River Regional Public Access, MIA LEHRER + ASSOCIATES
Hydrology, Hydraulics & Water Quality, PSOMAS

These two studies provide analysis and estimated costs of the proposed urban and stormwater runoff management, water quality improvements, and regional public access elements of the L.A. River Natural Park.

Envisioned as a showcase river-oriented park, the L.A. River Natural Park will:
naturally clean urban runoff and improve water quality
store and reuse runoff
preserve riverfront land and create native habitat
generate solar power
provide regional recreation amenities
establish an L.A. River Regional Public Access Hub and Trailhead for public access to the L.A. River in the San Fernando Valley

Click HERE for more information about the L.A. River Natural Park

Steelhead Trout for the Los Angeles River? Click HERE for video.

Los Angeles River in 1938 - Before It Was Paved. Click HERE for images

Weaving a New Web at

People for Parks has got a new look online, with added emphasis on photos, videos and other features to highlight PFP programs and news about parks and recreation in urban Los Angeles. To visit us, click HERE

water-quality issues are the back door to land preservation
See this great video from Surfrider, a 19-minute animated film, "The Cycle of Insanity - The Real Story of Water",


About the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin
All property within the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin is owned by the Los Angeles District Corps of Engineers, but more than 80% of the land is leased out for recreational and agricultural uses. Sepulveda Dam, completed in 1941, is a dry-land reservoir, with the purpose of controlling runoff from nearby San Gabriel, Santa Monica, and Santa Susana Mountains.

Besides the Encino and Balboa golf courses, the Balboa Sports Complex, and the model airplane field, most of the Basin was devoted to agriculture (corn and then sod farms). In the mid-1960’s, Burbank Blvd. was extended across the Basin. In the 1970’s the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation built the Donald Tillman Water Reclamation Plant within the Basin (over the objections of the Corp of Engineers).

In March of 1981, a revised Master Plan for the area was adopted. At the time, of the 2,150 acres in the Sepulveda Basin, approximately 1,060 acres were committed to recreational uses. The updated Master Plan designated an additional 540 acres for future recreational uses. Included in the plan are provisions for the commitment of approximately 220 acres of land to informal park space, 120 acres for development of a recreational lake, 108 acres for a wildlife management area, and 60 acres for an “arts park” that has been subsequently redesignated for a “sports complex” (the area west of Balboa Blvd. just north of the Los Angeles River.

The Master Plan also tried to minimize adverse environmental effects and recommended “designing reaches of newly-formed lakes and ponds
to emulate existing wetland conditions on the site and by replanting existing riparian plant species” and to “accompany new park developments
with the introduction of native plant species to create new habitats in the basin.”

In 1979 the Corp of Engineers developed the first area of the Wildlife Reserve (formerly called the South Reserve), an approximate 48 acre parcel located south of Burbank Blvd and bordered by the Los Angeles River and the Sepulveda Dam on the east and south. A “pothole” pond (fed with piped-in fresh water) was created, and vegetation representing coastal sage scrub and riparian woodlands were planted. This area was drastically altered in December 2012 and as of January 2013 there were ongoing negotiations between environmental groups and the Army Corps of Engineers (see section above below upcoming events).
The approximate 60-acre North Reserve (north of Burbank Blvd., east of Haskell Creek, west of the Dam) was developed in 1988,
featuring an 11-acre lake with an island and wildlife viewing stations. Various revegetation projects have been undertaken since then.
above, the stone monuments we call "stonehenge."

the reserve entrance and restrooms.
In 1991 the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant Flood Protection Project was finalized, and subsequently a berm was built
around the Water Reclamation Plant to protect it from flooding, compensating excavation was performed in various places,
and the outflow from the Water Reclamation Plant was
rerouted under the dam so the outflow was outside
(to the south) of the Dam. The 7-acre berm was planted
with California native plants and is the largest native landscaping project developed by the City of Los Angeles.

above, the berm surrounding the Water Reclamation Plant.
In 1994, the City and Federal governments agreed to sharing the costs on $11 million in improvements in the Sepulveda Basin.
The wildlife are was expanded 110 acres to the west of Haskell Creek (on either side of Woodley Avenue).
Additional facilities in the wildlife area included trails, restrooms and staging area, signs, benches, viewing blinds and parking. This project was completed in 1999.
Member Organizations and Affiliated Agencies

SFV Audubon

California Native Plant Society

L.A. Audubon

Sierra Club, San Fernando Valley Group



LA City Rec and Parks

Resource Conservation District

           The Japanese Garden



Other Affiliated Organizations

Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR)
The River Project
Southwestern Herpetologists Society

Other Relevant Links

Friends of Lake Balboa
L.A. Creek Freak Blog
Urban Wildlands Group

City of Los Angeles River Website
Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation
FoLAR LA River Facebook Page


Web page and design by Justin Baker.
Text and captions by Steven L. Hartman.
All photographs taken in the Sepulveda Basin by Steven L. Hartman unless otherwise noted.


Last Updated 2/5/2019