Los Angeles River Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project

CURes researchers recently launched the Los Angeles River Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP). This project is a partnership between CURes, the USDA Forest Service, LA River Urban Waters Federal Partnership, and the LA Urban Center for Natural Resources Sustainability.

The aim of LA River STEW-MAP is to produce a publicly available, online stewardship database and map of groups and organizations in the Los Angeles River watershed that work to conserve, manage, monitor, transform, advocate for, and/or educate the public about their local environments. This can help potential volunteers, public agencies, funders, and others find stewardship organizations throughout the LA River watershed. STEW-MAP can also show where there are gaps and concentrations of stewardship. LA River STEW-MAP follows a similar study from 2014-2015 that encompassed all of Los Angeles County.

CURes staff and research assistants have been working since Fall 2018 to prepare for the launch of data collection. During this period, outreach was conducted with key stewardship organizations to request their contact lists. These were then sorted and cleaned to produce a final contact database of 535 participants to which the STEW-MAP survey would be sent. The web-based survey was developed based on established protocols, and includes questions about organizational characteristics and activities, geographic locations and types of stewardship, and collaborations and partnerships.

The project kick-off was held on June 6th, hosted by the LA River Urban Waters Federal Partnership and the Angeles National Forest. LMU CURes Managing Director and LA River STEW-MAP lead Dr. Michele Romolini introduced the project via a workshop-style presentation to 30 practitioners representing public, non-profit, and private sectors. Participants provided feedback on how the research and results would be useful to their work. The survey was then launched online in mid-June via email to the 535 known stewardship organizations.

The STEW-MAP survey is still active online and is being distributed to all incoming additional contacts. CURes highly encourages participation in order to produce the most comprehensive map and assessment possible. The survey will be open through fall of 2019 to allow time to collect all responses. Results from the project will be available in 2020.

STEW-MAP is a national program of the US Forest Service, with efforts in many cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles County, New York City, Philadelphia, and Seattle, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico; Valledupar, Colombia; and Paris, France.

For more information or to be added to the survey distribution list, please contact Dr. Michele Romolini at michele.romolini@lmu.edu.