Open Space Links and Resources

SCAG Program Links & Resources


Conservation Framework

Key Open Space Stakeholder Organizations A list of important stakeholder organizations for SCAG to consultant during the open space planning process. Involvement from additional stakeholder organizations is strongly encouraged.

Natural Resource Science Experts List A list of scientists whose research provides scientific information regarding natural resources in the SCAG region.

Existing Information and Data Gaps for Natural Resources Report Provides a summary of the information gathered in support of expanding SCAG’s GIS database for resources relevant to natural resources planning for open space in the six-county SCAG region.

Inventory of Natural Resources Databases in SCAG Region An inventory of the publically available open space data and data sources relevant to conservation and mitigation planning in the SCAG region. The databases include information covering the entire SCAG region, individual counties, or portions of counties.

Conservation Framework & Assessment Outlines a regional natural resource conservation approach that accounts for impacts and improvements in a consistent manner across all habitats and landscapes. This assessment also includes a multi-species habitat evaluation method, the Combined Habitat Assessment Protocol (CHAP), at the regional scale and at a local, pilot scale.

Green Infrastructure

Measuring the Economic Value of A City Park System (2009) A report on the economic value that cities and urban residents receive from their park and recreation syst

US EPA: Green Infrastructure Green infrastructure information by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

More Green Infrastructure Resources Recommended green infrastructure resources and links from the Green Infrastructure Center.

Green Infrastructure Strategy A resource on items to consider for creating a green infrastructure strategy. Recommendations on policy considerations by the European Commission.

Natural Lands

California Protected Areas Database (CPAD) A GIS inventory of all protected park and open space lands in California, held in fee ownership by public agencies and non-profits.

USGS Gap Analysis Program (GAP) GAP identifies conservation gaps and maintains four primary data sets – land cover, protected areas, species, and aquatic resources – available for public use.

Ecological Principles for Managing Land Use Key ecological principles for land use and management from The Ecological Society of America’s Committee on Land Use.

Agricultural Lands

California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Statistics for California’s agricultural industry can be found at the CDFA website.

California Dept of Conservation: Division of Land Resource Protection (DLRP) DLRP works to conserve California’s agricultural resources. They implement the California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP) that encourages permanent farmland conservation through easements and the Williamson Act Program, voluntary agreements to restrict development of agricultural lands in exchange for tax reductions.

Farmland Mapping & Monitoring Program (FMMP) The FMMP provides maps and statistical data on California’s agricultural resources. Agricultural land maps are updated every two years.

MOCA: The Measure of California Agriculture (2009) Documents California agriculture and its relationship to the rest of the economy.

At Risk: Ventura County’s Open Space and Farmlands (2012) This report analyzes the challenges of preserving Ventura County’s open space and agricultural lands and details actions needed to ensure their long-term preservation.

Urban Forests & Community Parks

City of Santa Monica Urban Forest Master Plan The master plan establishes the vision for perpetuating and enhancing the city’s urban forest. It provides a comprehensive guide on local ecosystems, appropriate tree species, maintenance practices, watering and other considerations.

i-Tree A state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban and community forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. iTree Tools are in the public domain and are freely accessible. Learn more about i-Tree

USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Resources on urban forests from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Healthy Parks, Schools and Communities: Mapping Green Access and Equity for Southern California This report from The City Project maps and analyzes park access and equity in nine counties in Southern California - Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Kern, Santa Barbara and Imperial. The maps in this report plot green space in relation to population and other metrics to measure accessibility, such as distance to the park.

2012 Regional Transportation Plan / Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS) Environmental Justice Appendix

Ecosystem Services

Ecological Society of America Fact Sheet on Ecosystem Services

Loss of Wild Insects Hurts Crops Around the World (Feb 28, 2013) An article detailing the importance of wild insects to agriculture.

USDA Forest Service Valuing Ecosystem Services United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service website provides additional references on ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, watershed services, biodiversity, and neighborhood trees.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report (2005) The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment was carried out between 2001 and 2005 to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and to establish the scientific basis for actions needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their contributions to human well-being.

Ecosystem Services in Urban Areas (1999) A short paper analyzing ecosystem services in urban areas using Stockholm, Sweden as a model.

Ecosystem Services: A Guide For Decision-Makers (2008) This guide for the public sector provides guidelines on how to take ecosystem services into account in economic and social strategies. It introduces various methods to link ecosystems and development, including an ecosystem services framework, trends analyses, ecosystem service mapping, scenario planning, and a portfolio of policy options targeted at sustaining ecosystem services.  Click here for Click here for Quick Guide​​.


California Department of Fish and Wildlife: Threatened and Endangered Species

Why is Biodiversity Important? Who Cares? Resource on the importance of biodiversity.

Mitigation Strategies

Conservation Easements The Land Trust Alliance provides a good overview of how conservation easements work.

National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) A national database of conservation easement information that makes easement data publicly available for download. The NCED does not collect landowner names or sensitive information.

Conservation Planning in California A resource from the Institute of Ecological Health on conservation planning in California.

Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) Learn about NCCPs from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Habitat Conservation Planning (HCP) Learn about HCPs from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Transfer of Development Rights A discussion of transfer of development rights programs including TDR history, mechanics of implementing a TDR, TDR advantages and challenges.

Transfer of Development Rights in U.S. Communities (2007) An in-depth report on TDRs from Resources for the Future.

Advance Mitigation Planning

Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects Eco-Logical puts forth the conceptual groundwork for integrating plans across agency boundaries, and endorses ecosystem-based mitigation.

Breaking the Environmental Gridlock – Advance Mitigation Programs for Ecological Impacts (2010) This article provides case studies of four programs that illustrate how various agencies are incorporating advance mitigation into their infrastructure planning and implementation.

Early Mitigation for Net Environmental Benefit (2005) This report provides guidance on the development and implementation of successful alternative/early mitigation strategies to address environmental goals.