State Coastal Conservancy Grants $4 million to City of Los Angeles for San Fernando Valley Stormwater Capture Project

The Board of the State Coastal Conservancy, the agency responsible for the protection and restoration of California’s coast and waterways, has authorized up to $4,000,000 to the City of Los Angeles for design, implementation and monitoring of the San Fernando Valley Stormwater Capture Project at five sites in the San Fernando Valley.


The project will transform five boulevards in the Valley, including parts of Van Nuys and Lankershim Boulevards, by removing existing street paving and replacing it with a surface that is durable, but allows water to filter through it and into the water table below ground. Bioswales are specially landscaped areas designed to collect rainwater and also allow it to percolate into the water table. Bioswales will be created along the boulevards, and trees will be planted to provide shade, to cool the area for residents and make the streets more inviting for people to walk. The water table, or aquifer, underneath the San Fernando Valley is capable of holding millions of gallons of water. The goal of the “green” infrastructure is to capture the stormwater and allow it to filter back into the aquifer, a process that cleans the water naturally. By increasing water permeability along these corridors, the project will reduce stormwater runoff, alleviate local flooding and improve water quality downstream.


“These projects further demonstrate the benefits of constructing urban streets in ways that are more aligned with nature. We want to have more livable communities in the Northeast San Fernando Valley that are more resilient to climate change, and creating infrastructure that can capture and infiltrate rainwater is the way of the future,” said Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima). “I want to thank the Coastal Conservancy for investing in these improvements that will play a key role in our local water supply.”


“Currently, stormwater runs off from surface streets into the LA River and, ultimately, the Pacific.  This creates a twofold problem: first, runoff washes surface pollutants and toxins directly into the water system, and second, stormwater doesn’t penetrate the local aquifer, exacerbating drought problems,” said Kara Kemmler, Coastal Conservancy Project Manager. “This project will capture 494 acre-feet of stormwater per year to recharge the local aquifer, the equivalent of a year’s worth of water for approximately 1,200 single-family households. The soil also acts as a natural filter, which will help to remove pathogens that wash off the streets during storms.”


The San Fernando Valley Stormwater Capture Project is part of the State Coastal Conservancy’s LA Urban Greening program, a $12 million campaign to increase the amount of public green space in underserved communities within the LA coastal watershed.   LA Urban Greening projects focus on creating and enhancing parkland in urban communities that improve the quality of life in these neighborhoods while simultaneously benefitting coastal water quality.


“These are truly multi-benefit projects” continued Kemmler, “In the San Fernando Valley, not only will our project recharge stormwater runoff, it will also create healthy, verdant spaces along urban city streets. The removal of asphalt and installation of native plants and trees will lower surface and air temperatures, giving communities respite from the Heat Island Effect.”


Two of the five San Fernando Valley Stormwater Capture Project sites are also part of Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative, which aims to activate public spaces and revitalize neighborhoods by enhancing the design and function of designated city streets.  The project also supports the “One Water LA” program developed by the City to provide an integrated approach for water supply, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management.  It is a long-term commitment to ensure LA’s water future through collaboration, integration and public involvement.


Notes to Editors

  • The San Fernando Valley Stormwater Capture Project sites are:
    • Glenoaks and Filmore
    • Van Nuys Blvd. from Laurel Canyon to San Fernando
    • Branford Street from Laurel Canyon to Pacoima Wash
    • Agnes Avenue from Vanowen to Kittridge
    • Lankershim Blvd. from Chandler to Victory


  • The California State Coastal Conservancy’s LA Urban Greening program is a multi-year, $12 million campaign to improve, create and enhance green spaces in LA’s economically disadvantaged communities, delivering new recreation spaces and improving the overall health of this coastal watershed.