REGIONAL WATER RESILIENCY

The SGVCOG supports regional water resiliency and provides leadership in the implementation of Measure W and regional Watershed Management Programs (WMPs). The SGVCOG also assists member agencies in addressing water quality and complying with MS4 stormwater permit requirements. The SGVCOG advocates for regulatory and legislative changes that facilitate member agencies' ability to comply with water and stormwater regulations, secures funding for regional projects that promote water resiliency, and serves as a resource to member agencies in the delivery of large-scale capital projects.

Below is a list of documents and websites related to Measure W and the MS4 permit implementation:

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MEASURE W

WATERSHED MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS

UPPER LOS ANGELES RIVER WATERSHED MANAGEMENT GROUP

Safe Clean Water Program Special Studies

The following special studies are funded by Los Angeles County's Safe Clean Water Program (SCWP) and are designed to uphold the goals of the SCWP. SGVCOG administers these studies on behalf of participating agencies from the Upper Los Angeles Watershed Management Group. 

Blue Water

Uncovering, Enacting, and Adapting the Region’s Most Impactful and Resilient Stormwater Solutions

We all want cleaner water and a healthier L.A. River. The preSIP study helps us get it sooner and more affordably by:

  • Using science and technology to uncover the best stormwater projects

  • Engaging stakeholders through a collaborative and iterative process to incorporate their goals and projects

  • Crafting an adaptive framework to make the watershed healthier over time

The preSIP is funded by $2.3M from the Safe, Clean Water Program to support smarter, collaborative planning that will provide a shared, transparent vision of where the watershed is and where it is headed.

preSIP

What is the preSIP?

What is the preSIP?

We know from experience that well-crafted plans can save our Cities and citizens millions of dollars!

The 2020 EWMP Adaptation Pilot Study demonstrated that by using the most up-to-date scientific understanding in the watershed and strategically placing stormwater capture projects where they are most impactful, participating cities of the ULAR Watershed Management Group can get to a clean L.A. River at a substantial savings over previous planning approaches and recommendations. See chart below for projected Pilot Study savings by using the most project-oriented approach. 

Taking this approach to the full watershed scale will require a unified approach among all of the ULAR Group’s Cities and partners. The preSIP will link all stormwater projects in the watershed through a platform that can support both understanding how far the watershed has come to this point and testing out new project ideas that will ensure its health for the future.

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Pilot Study Results: Total Project Cost by Type

COMPARED TO EWMP CAPITAL COST

Outcomes from the Pilot Study showed that project-focused infrastructure planning could produce the same outcomes at 27% of the cost of original EWMP estimates for the assessment watershed. IMAGINE what this means for the full L.A. River!

Constructed and Planned Projects have been Inventoried Watershed-Wide

The dashboard above is a glimpse into the inner-workings of the preSIP. All existing, constructed, and planned stormwater projects in the watershed have been accounted for to determine the baseline state of the watershed. These projects will be evaluated alongside a comprehensive accounting of all other project options to identify the ones that are the most impactful and cost-effective. Watershed managers will then be able to test out different combinations of these projects in an interactive way to envision the path to compliance that fits best. This will provide transparent accounting that can be evaluated both locally and watershed-wide to provide clarity in planning and an understandable path toward compliance.

What will the preSIP look like?

Simply put? A cleaner L.A. River. 

While most of the details will take place behind the scenes, the preSIP will ultimately result in adaptive planning processes that ensure that year in and year out, participating cities of the ULAR Watershed Management Group will be advancing the watershed to a cleaner future using the latest-available science and data, a unified planning/tracking platform, and the best multi-benefit stormwater projects throughout the watershed.

In Partnership with the following:

The Fire Effects Study

Upper Los Angeles River and Rio Hondo Watersheds

What is the Fire Effects Study?

A first-of-its kind regional scientific study led by participating cities of the Upper Los Angeles River (ULAR) and Rio Hondo Watershed Management Groups (WMGs) and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG) identifying wildfire impacts on water quality. This study is funded by Los Angeles County’s Safe, Clean Water (SCW) program and is designed to uphold the goals of the SCW program. Key features of the study area are water quality monitoring and modeling to characterize pollutant loading, collaboration with the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), and coordination with research institutions to support project design and peer review.

Why is the Fire Effects Study important?

A first-of-its kind regional scientific study led by participating cities of the Upper Los Angeles River (ULAR) and Rio Hondo Watershed Management Groups (WMGs) and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG) identifying wildfire impacts on water quality. This study is funded by Los Angeles County’s Safe, Clean Water (SCW) program and is designed to uphold the goals of the SCW program. Key features of the study area are water quality monitoring and modeling to characterize pollutant loading, collaboration with the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), and coordination with research institutions to support project design and peer review.

Special studies demonstrate an increase of pollutants in storm water after wildfires

Project Example:
Effects of California Wildfires on Storm Water

What are the goals of the Fire Effects Study?

Improve water quality and contribute to attainment of water quality requirements

Leverage other funding sources to maximize SCW program goals

Encourage innovation and adoption of new technologies and practices

Invest in scientific research

How does the Fire Effects Study help watershed managers?

The Fire Effects Study will provide data to answer key questions including how wildfires impact contaminant loading, how metals and nutrients concentrations compare between burned and non-burned areas, how runoff influences downstream receiving waters, and what factors influence the persistence of these impacts. Answering these questions provides ULAR and Rio Hondo stormwater managers with data to help select water quality treatment best management (BMP) projects and evaluate BMP performance based on wildfire conditions therefore, supporting more informed decisions that better protect water quality and help attain regulatory compliance.

This study also initiates discussions with regulatory agencies on meeting compliance targets and potential regulatory relief from impending TMDLs, while providing information that other watershed management agencies can reference or use to model their own local wildfire study.

In Partnership with the following:

The Load Reduction Strategy (LRS) Adaptation Implements a More Efficient and Effective Strategy to Address the Los Angeles River Bacteria TMDL

There are many sources of bacteria in the environment and although elevated concentrations of traditional fecal indicator bacteria may indicate a higher potential for human health risks, it is exposure to pathogens that can cause illness in recreational water users and threaten or impair beneficial uses. Human waste typically contains a higher concentration of pathogens, as compared to other sources, thereby increasing the risk of gastrointestinal illness (GI) through recreational exposure.

The LRS Adaptation Plan provides an effective framework to address human health risk from pathogen exposure, by focusing on eliminating sources of human waste to the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). The Plan helps to streamline efforts across the ULAR agencies and other stakeholders in the watershed.

The LRS Adaptation Plan was submitted to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board for review and approval on August 2, 2021.

Access the full Plan here.

What Is Contributing to the Problem?

Human sources of bacteria in our waterways that cause disease or sickness in recreators can originate from a variety of common sources, including the following:

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Leaking Sewer Pipes & Sanitary Sewer Overflows

Leaking sewer pipes and sanitary sewer overflows release raw sewage into the environment. Common causes are blockages, line breaks, vandalism, sewer defects, and aging infrastructure.

Leaking/Failing Septic System

Residential septic systems leak/fail due to poor maintenance or design. Failing systems leak raw sewage into surrounding soil and can ultimately end up in nearby waterways.

Homeless Encampments
 

Homeless encampments can lead to increased trash and human waste entering nearby waterways through bathing or direct deposition.

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Illegal Dumping
 

Illegal dumping refer to the disposal of trash or debris into waterways. These can include human waste contributions.

Illicit Connections/Illicit Discharges

Illicit connections or discharges refer to connections to the MS4 or discharges into the MS4 that are not authorized. These can include human waste contributions.

Source Investigation Framework

To identify human fecal sources within the high priority, areas of investigation (AOIs), the Group will implement a human waste source investigation (HWSI) with the following steps.

See Our Monitoring Team in Action

In Partnership with the following: