Senator Stern Bill Pushes State Assistance for “Nature-Based” Vision of Sepulveda Basin

January 26, 2023

Sacramento, CA - Today, State Senator Stern announced legislation to bring the State of California to the table in revitalizing the Sepulveda Basin prior to the 2028 Olympics.

“Rarely are there opportunities to attack the problems of extreme heat, park poverty, habitat loss, and flood risk in this underrepresented part of the San Fernando Valley, but the Sepulveda Basin is just that opportunity,” Stern noted. “We cannot let narrow ideas limit our vision of what the basin can be. I am introducing this legislation to help LA and the Army Corps reimagine what is possible when we engineer with nature and our community on our side.”

The bill would require the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) to help broaden the vision of current Sepulveda Basin planning efforts underway at the local and federal level. Rather than focus strictly on building upgrades and hard infrastructure development in the basin, Stern’s bill focuses on nature-based solutions, including those recently identified in the 2022 Sepulveda Basin Restoration Feasibility Report.

By rethinking how underutilized assets in the basin could help restore the LA River, expand habitat, recreation and open space areas, and improve flood safety, in the lead up to the 2028 Olympics. Stern’s bill will draw on this initial research and encourage partnerships between the community and all levels of government to improve the basin’s 2,000 acres of open space, including nearly eight miles of the L.A. River.

Recently, the DWR has awarded $161,750 in Proposition 1 funds to plan for nature-based solutions while the SMMC has granted the City of Los Angeles $950,000 to help ensure a broad planning process for the basin.

“The Sepulveda Basin could be the Central Park of the San Fernando Valley, while capturing, storing and cleaning stormwater, and saving lives from the extreme heat and superfloods heading our way.”