With support from Edison International, CURes conducted a study to inventory existing climate change resilience organizations for San Bernardino County, CA. A climate change resilience (CCR) organization is any organization that places emphasis on building a community resilient to the effects of climate change. This includes social equity nonprofits, sustainability research programs, government agencies, and any organization that displays a goal to build community climate change resilience. Climate change resilience can be defined as the community’s ability to withstand the increasingly severe effects of climate change like drought, heat waves, and wildfires. This project identified CCR organizations that are located within San Bernardino or have definitively served and will continue to serve the county from other locations. The results of the inventory were summarized in the San Bernardino Climate Adaptation Organizations Report and displayed on this map.
Michele Romolini, Carlos Moran, Eric G. Strauss, Lisa Fimiani, and Ada Li Sarain
In 2019, the Loyola Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience (CURes) partnered with TreePeople to conduct a tree canopy prioritization in the City of Commerce. This process utilized high resolution, high accuracy tree canopy data as a foundation to engage the public in identifying their priorities for tree planting in the city.
Analysis of the tree canopy data, acquired through a previous project between CURes and TreePeople, showed that the City of Commerce only has 5% tree canopy cover. This is in contrast to 25% cover in the City of Los Angeles, and 18% tree canopy cover found countywide. The analyses also found that Commerce has great opportunity to increase its tree canopy, with 51% of the land area of the city shown to be Possible Tree Canopy.
CURes and TreePeople held two planning meetings with the City of Commerce and conducted multiple forms of outreach to engage community participation in a “tree summit,” which took place in November, 2019. Participants were introduced to the numerous ways that their city could benefit from increased tree canopy, engaged in a discussion about their personal experiences and values around trees, and were invited to take a survey to choose their top ten priorities for tree planting.
Overall, 33 surveys were collected, with the large majority (88%) of respondents indicating that they were residents of Commerce and a smaller number (42%) indicating that they worked in Commerce. Respondents had the opportunity to vote to prioritize 17 specific tree benefits across seven categories. Participants identified “Improve Air Quality and Reduce Noise” and “Beautify Neighborhoods” as their top priority categories for tree planting. Among the specific benefits, the highest priorities were Access to Parks, Air Quality, Heat, Low Tree Canopy, and Schools.
Each of the benefits voted on by participants was associated with a spatial variable (e.g. “Heat” was associated with high-resolution surface temperature data available through NASA). Using the results from the survey, priority weightings were calculated for each spatial variable, and these priorities were mapped using the Possible Tree Canopy data as a guide. Thus, the resulting maps showed the priority locations for tree planting in the City of Commerce that were already identified by the tree canopy assessment as Possible Tree Canopy.
The prioritization map revealed that highest priority areas of Commerce are in the northern and central parts of the City. In addition to the maps, tables were produced to provide rankings for each individual parcel in the Possible Tree Canopy boundaries. These datasets include a comprehensive listing of 2,168 Residential Parcels, 909 Road Segments, and 4 Parks in the City of Commerce.
Together, the products of this tree canopy prioritization project can guide the City of Commerce in its urban forestry planning. In the near term, TreePeople will use these data to inform a planting of over 1,000 trees, most concentrated in parks, streets, and residential giveaways. In the longer term, the City can use these data to guide future tree planting strategies.
Eric G. Strauss, Michele Romolini, and Melinda Weaver
Staff from the Loyola Marymount University Center for Resilience, in collaboration with officials from the City of Long Beach conducted a multiyear analysis of coyote ecology, risk, and management options to be implemented. The project was designed to incorporate local data, regional information and national examples to be applied to the challenges of coyote management in Long Beach. The project was initiated in response to increase concern about the safety of coyotes living within the city and their impact on domestic animals, especially cats. The project occurred at a prescient period in urban coyote research as many parallel projects were taking place across the country, with a few focused in Southern California. As such, the project activities morphed during the period of three years to better capture the new information that was being made available by collaborating scientists in the area and by research teams across the country.
The data from Long Beach and other studies indicate that coyotes in Southern California present an increasing risk to domestic animals, especially cats, when compared to both historical studies and other locations across the country. These findings have been supported by multiple research efforts by other scientific teams and by our additional work that is currently underway in Culver City. As a result of these findings, the management challenges for coyotes in Southern California have increased in scope and complexity. Cities across the region are struggling to find effective and humane interventions that can ameliorate the threats presented by coyotes, especially those directed towards domestic animals and people.
Our recommendations include: 1) increasing specialized education for stakeholders with regard to reducing coyote risk, 2) implementing a suite of interventions at the individual parcel level that can decrease the potential threat from coyotes, 3) following a tiered response to coyote management with respect to documented incidences, and 4) introducing a palette of strategies that can be applied to residential pet owners as they try to find a balance between pet safety and outdoor activities.
This report and its appendices contain detailed information and resources that can be used to address these recommendations. As part of this project, we developed a localized formal in-school curriculum that is available online to the Long Beach Unified School District and other schools in the area. We have also developed a backyard safety survey that can be implemented with relative ease. Finally, the report itself provides a wealth of information pulled together from our data collection in Long Beach as well as other cities throughout the US. These resources can be used by themselves or be incorporated into the development of additional outreach materials. While the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the feasibility of certain in person community engagement and outreach interventions, these materials can still be utilized immediately. The CURes team stands ready to provide virtual workshops, presentations, and professional advice on individual coyote incidents and the options the city might use to reduce risk.
Mike Galvin, Jarlath O’Neil‐Dunne, Dexter Locke, and Michele Romolini
This project applied the USDA Forest Service’s Tree Canopy Assessment protocols to the City of Los Angeles. The analysis was conducted using imagery and LiDAR acquired in 2016 provided through the Los Angeles Region Imagery Acquisition Consortium program.
The assessment was funded by a grant to TreePeople and carried out by SavATree in collaboration with the Center for Urban Resilience at Loyola Marymount University, the Spatial Analysis Laboratory at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources, and Dr. Dexter Locke.
Michele Romolini and Eric G. Strauss
In recognition of the critical moment facing the Silver Lake community as it undergoes the development of a new Reservoir Master Plan, the Loyola Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience (LMU CURes) was invited by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council (SLNC) to conduct a study to provide sound information to support these efforts. A comprehensive study would likely span multiple years, and would include wildlife, green infrastructure, and social research to analyze the options available to Silver Lake to plan and implement an open space policy. This report focuses on Phase 1, a pilot survey of individuals intended to collect foundational data about the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of those stakeholders who currently utilize the area. Conducted in late 2018 and developed in consultation with the SLNC, the pilot survey gathered 249 in-person public intercept surveys and 1014 responses to a publicly available online survey.
Two public meetings informed modifications of the originally proposed study, including the addition of in-person survey locations and the additional online survey option. The in-person surveys were conducted by nine LMU CURes researchers over a period of approximately six weeks at locations immediately surrounding the reservoir complex or other nearby locations that were chosen at SLNC meetings. The online survey link was available on the LMU CURes website, but efforts to publicize the online survey were managed by the SLNC. Given the varying methodologies, the results from the in-person and online surveys were analyzed separately and viewed as different data sources.
The results showed that both in-person and online respondents were predominantly residents of Silver Lake, though there was also representation from others who are considered part of the SLNC’s broader stakeholder community. Those responding to the survey tended to use the reservoir areas often. Based upon the survey results, respondents from the Silver Lake community had many areas of agreement on the benefits and concerns regarding the reservoir complex, but common themes emerged as points of conflict. These included: the presence of dogs and their related facilities, green space and wildlife, accessibility, traffic, and changed usage concerns. While the average reservoir user self-reports to be fairly informed about environmental topics and processes, education and outreach may be needed moving forward. Demographically, the survey was fairly representative of the resident population of Silver Lake, with some exceptions. The intent of the survey was not to have an identical representation of the demographics of Silver Lake, but to be inclusive of other stakeholder opinions. However, if increased representation across categories is desired, an expanded study with a larger sample size could capture greater participation in certain demographic areas.
The report details and discusses the results from each survey question, and ends with conclusions and next steps. Possible future directions include recommendations for an expanded survey protocol beyond this Phase 1 pilot, and other areas for analysis and future research based on the findings. These initial findings and recommendations may provide some foundation for the SLNC and the Silver Lake community as they proceed into the planning process for the reservoir complex.
Michele Romolini, Eric G. Strauss, Sarah Bruce-Eisen, and Emily Simso
This report provides the results of a two-year research study by the Loyola Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience (CURes) to examine park visitation and user behavior and attitudes in the Baldwin Hills Parklands. Supported by the Baldwin Hill Conservancy through California Proposition 84 funding, the goal of this study was to better understand how individuals are using and interacting with the Baldwin Hills Parklands. It is the first large-scale, multi-year, field-based attendance survey and multifaceted analysis of visitors’ experiences in the Parklands, consisting of a pilot and four comprehensive field seasons.
Building on a pilot phase in 2014, 38 CURes research assistants spent 1,934 hours in the parks over four field seasons from 2015-2017. Researchers conducted 1,747 park user surveys, completed counts of 12,709 parks visitors, analyzed 4,998 images from park entrances, and produced reports and outreach materials. The results show that the Baldwin Hills Parklands:
- receive high levels of visitation, especially on weekends, with the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area serving the largest user population at any one time, and the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park having the highest visitation on average;
- have a devoted population of frequent users that tend to visit only one park within the Baldwin Hills Parklands;
- are visited by people who are highly civically engaged, have a moderate understanding of the local environment, and are very interested in learning more about the environment of the region;
- are visited by users mostly arriving by car who tend to enter through main park entrances, with no trouble finding parking;
- receive a substantial number of visitors who would prefer to arrive by foot or bicycle, and even more who would be interested in taking the park shuttle but were not aware of it;
- support both active recreation and passive enjoyment of nature, with walking and enjoying nature as the top two activities indicated by users;
- are visited by users who do not often go to the coast, though nearly all indicate a willingness to walk or bike on a recreational trail to visit the beach;
- serve a diverse population of users from Los Angeles County that are, on average, relatively young, highly educated, and of low to moderate income, which is not entirely consistent with the surrounding population; and
- receive visitors with highly positive sentiments and attachments to the parks.
These findings suggest that the Baldwin Hills Parklands are an integral natural resource in the Los Angeles region. They also provide a foundation to guide continued work to better understand, improve, and promote the use of the parklands. This report details the findings of the two-year study, provides interpretations of the results and recommendations for the Baldwin Hills Conservancy.
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