The County of Los Angeles Department of Regional Planning is updating the Significant Ecological Area (SEA) portion of the General Plan.
There are 62 Significant Ecological Areas (SEAs) identified in Los Angeles
County. Five of these are located in the Santa Clarita Valley:
Click on the map above to view a larger map showing locations of SEAs in the Santa Clarita Valley.
San Francisquito Canyon (SEA #19).
The Santa Susana Mountains (SEA #20).
The Santa Clara River (SEA #23).
Lyon Canyon (SEA #63).
The Valley Oak Savannah (SEA #64)
An area qualifies for recognition as an SEA if it possesses one or more of the following features, or classes:
Lyon Canyon (SEA #63)
|This is the smallest SEA in the Santa Clarita Area, and is located southwest of the Sunset Pointe housing tract west of I-5. It typifies a oak grove and chapperal community, and thus qualifies in Class 7. A proposed expansion of Stevenson Ranch would decimate this SEA to the point where it would no longer be viable.|
San Francisquito Canyon (SEA #19)
|This SEA was established to preserve habitat associated with the unarmored stickleback fish, an endangered species. Originally at 1,330 acres, the SEA has been reduced to less than 1,220 acres and is characterized as 'severely degraded'. A 1,220 acre buffer originally mapped around this SEA has been virtually eliminated by new residential and commercial developments in the canyon.|
Santa Clara River (SEA #23)
|Originally mapped out at 5,690 acres, this SEA is functionally covering 5,410 acres and is also listed as 'severely degraded' It provides stickleback habitat, and qualifies as an SEA in Classes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7. The SEA represents the last major unchanneled river in Los Angeles County.|
Santa Susana Mountains (SEA #20)
|Encompassing about 18,380 acres, this is the largest SEA
in the vicinity of the SCV, and is listed as 'moderately degraded'. It
qualifies as an SEA under Classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The SEA includes
the Santa Clarita Woodlands State Park, but is also threatened by both
the expansion of the Sunshine Canyon landfill and the proposed Towsley
You can take many hikes through portions of the Woodlands. At the southeast end, there are Rice and East Canyons, and a pair of moderate hikes, one on a dirt road, the other a sometimes narrow walking trail. Streams and small waterfalls can be found on both hikes. These two canyons are unique in that the ridges at their crest are typically bathed in fog spilling over from the San Fernando Valley.
Just off The Old Road at Calgrove are other interesting hikes in Towsley and Wiley Canyons (in Ed Davis Park). Since this is probably the most publicly accessable of the SEAs, with bicycles allowed on all but Rice Canyon, it is also subject to the most damage by careless visitors, and the bikes often do damage to the trails. Besides, you will miss many of the small plants and flowers that flourish along these trails rushing through on two wheels.
All four hikes give outstanding views, either inside the SEA, or out towards the Santa Clarita Valley. They traverse a variety of microclimates with drastically changing flora, with wildflowers at their peak in the late spring.
Valley Oak Savannah (SEA #64)
This 300+ acre area west of I-5, between McBean Parkway and Valencia
Boulevard, is the southernmost large-scale extent of the Valley
Oak in Los Angeles County. It therefore qualifies under Classes 3 and
5. Various plan revisions and unofficial boundary changes have gradually
shrunk the size of this SEA, and the proposed Westridge commercial/residential
development effects profound changes on this SEA, probably beyond recovery.
Copyright© 2012 by SCOPE