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86% of the river and right-of-way is publicly owned and almost all of the river right-of-way is held for public use.
Generally speaking, most of the right-of-way (ROW) is publicly owned. The largest owner is the LA County Flood Control District (LACFCD). This creates a unique opportunity for public projects with impacts at a regional scale. These projects would avoid many otherwise common property procurement, permitting, and implementation constraints and benefit from likely more expedited timelines and effective management.
LACFCD owns the air rights above the channel on all parcels that are Fee owned outright. The air rights for Easement owned and Agreement parcels vary depending on the terms of the easement or agreement and must adhere to local zoning and building codes. Additional easement rights may be required for some projects depending on the terms and conditions of use (e.g. If an easement is solely for flood risk management purposes, trail improvements or other non-flood risk management related land uses may require an additional easement.)
There are different water rights categories within the LA River watershed, including:
• Pueblo water rights
• Appropriative water rights
• Riparian water rights
• Adjudicated groundwater rights
For more information, see this page on Jurisdiction, Ownership, and Rights.
LACFCD Right-of-Way Ownership and LA RIver ROW: Channel Width and LA River Landside area
While there are small percentages of private and other ownership, these are the main
categories used by the LACFCD for ownership within the ROW:
- Fee – LACFCD owned outright
- Easement – LACFCD owned easement
- Quitclaim – Excess parcels LACFCD owned or had an easement over at some point but has now sold, released, or transferred (not included in LACFCD ROW Ownership river ruler)
- Agreement – Other relationships that do not fit in the other estate types (e.g., Department of Transportation permit that grants temporary rights to the LACFCD) 1 “Los Angeles County Flood Control District Right-of-Way Parcels.” Los Angeles County Public Works. Accessed June 12, 2018. *newer data than used now available