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Los Angeles’ Wild Watershed

Think Los Angeles is too built-up and noisy to support wildlife? Think again! The Los Angeles River Watershed (that is, all the area that drains to the Los Angeles River and out to the ocean) includes both urban and natural regions that are teeming with unique, and in some cases endangered, plant and animal species. We want to share some of the fascinating critters we’ve come across while collecting water samples in the upper more natural parts of the watershed (the California Toad, the Banded Alder Borer, and the rattlesnake) as well as some species you can find on hikes in the San Fernando Valley (Western Fence Lizard, Bordered Plant Bug) or even in your own backyard (Brown Garden Snail)! Want to embark on your own watershed safari? Use our Biodiversity Scavenger Hunt to look for plants, animals, and insects commonly found near the Los Angeles River! You can also use your smartphone or tablet to take photos of cool plants and animals and send them to actual scientists who will identify them for you using the iNaturalist app. Water you waiting for? Get out there and #ExploreYourWatersheds!

(Left to right) Top row: Western Fence Lizard, Bordered Plant Bug. Middle row: Snowy Egret, Brown Garden Snail, California Toad. Bottom row: Banded Alder Borer, California Rattlesnake.

The Los Angeles River Watershed. The upper watershed is the area shaded light blue where we often see deer, lizards, and many kinds of birds while sampling. Watch out for the occasional rattlesnake in the San Gabriel Mountains! In the middle and lower watershed (shaded dark blue) we saw the Snowy Egret (while kayaking in the Sepulveda Basin area) and the Brown Garden Snail.

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