El Segundo General Plan - 1992

7. Conservation Element

Table of Contents


Summary of Existing Conditions Report

Goals, Objectives, and Policies

Goal CN1: Beach Preservation

Goal CN2: Water Supply

Goal CN3: Groundwater Contamination

Goal CN4: El Segundo Blue Butterfly

Goal CN5: Urban Landscape








Purpose and Authority


California Government Code Section 65302(d) provides that the general plan shall include a conservation element for the conservation, development, and utilization of natural resources. To the extent applicable, the following issues must be addressed . . . water and hydrology, forests, soils, rivers and other waters, harbors and fisheries, wildlife, minerals, and other natural resources. State Code Section 65302(d) also notes: "That portion of the conservation element including waters shall be developed in coordination with any countywide water agency and with all district and city agencies which have developed, served, controlled, or conserved water for any purpose for the county or city for which the plan is prepared."



The Existing Conditions Report, a summary of which follows, outlines four relevant conservation issues for the City of El Segundo: coastal resources, water resources, biotic resources, and mineral resources. At this time, each of the resources identified also have planning implications in regional, statewide, and federal contexts. A partial list of agencies and projects with concerns and influences over these resources is located at the end of the Report. Following the Summary of Existing Conditions are the statements of goals, policies, and implementation measures designed to guide the management and conservation of specified resources for the City. Air quality assessment is addressed in the Air Quality Element. A discussion of soils and geology may be found under the seismic section of the Safety Element. The Open Space, Land Use, and Circulation Elements also address concerns that will overlap to some extent with Conservation.

The relevance of the Conservation Element has increased with the realization that many resources are finite and nonrenewable, and others, such as air and water, are essentially our life support systems where quality and availability may become critical. For the City of El Segundo, relevant resource conservation issues have changed somewhat over the decades of this century as patterns of living and working in the area changed. The composition of the air, the waters, and the vegetation have changed as dramatically as the forms and composition of the built environment have over the years. There is, and always will be, however, basic relationships between natural and man-made systems that must be valued and protected.

Due to the regional context of resources such as water, coastal access, and oil fields, it is necessary that the City cooperates with adjacent communities and with federal, state, and regional agencies to maintain and improve the quality of these resources and the environment. In regards to the protection of biotic resources such as the urban landscape, the City shall develop programs that promote community-wide conservation. The City shall require new development to incorporate sound conservation principles and mitigate any negative environmental impacts consequent to development within or bearing upon the City. The following goals reflect the community's needs and values and are intended to provide direction for the conservation, development, and utilization of the City's natural and man-made resources.

Summary of Existing Conditions

Coastal Resources


The western boundary of the City of El Segundo includes 0.8 miles of shoreline that is located adjacent to Santa Monica Bay and is owned by the State Lands Commission. This coastal area hosts two coastal-dependent energy facilities and has been developed primarily as a resource for industrial use. It serves as a marine terminal for loading Chevron Refinery petroleum products and provides a source of industrial coolant water for both Chevron and Southern California Edison. The Hyperion Treatment Plant and Scattergood Power Plant are situated nearby on property located within the City of Los Angeles boundaries.

The beach area is subject to erosion from littoral transport and storm damage. Protective rock revetments, a groin, and beach replenishment projects were implemented. No formal evaluation of these improvements is available at this time.

Both the Chevron Refinery and Southern California Edison facilities discharge waters through outfalls into Santa Monica Bay and are required to comply with permits issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board. These discharges affect the near-shore water temperature, chemical composition, and turbidity.

Chevron maintains an on-site response capability for the small oil spills that occur occasionally during tanker offloading at the marine terminal and is a member of the industrial network for larger spills.

Recreational use is relatively light due to the industrial nature of the area and the proximity of more attractive beaches. The beach is publicly-owned and is accessible for public use through Dockweiler State Beach to the north and Manhattan State Beach to the south. No access to the shoreline exists within City limits.

Recreational uses include swimming, surfing, fishing, and coastal access. A coastal bicycle trail, maintained by the County of Los Angeles, is located on leased land above the high-water line.


Biotic Resources


The native vegetative cover has been displaced by urban structures, surfacing, and plant species typical of the residential and commercial landscaping of the region. Remnants of coastal strand vegetation, once abundant along the dune areas, exist only in scattered patches. Much of the dune area is disturbed by industrial development and beach facilities. The primary vegetation of the City of El Segundo now consists of domesticated species introduced over the last century and includes a variety of lawn grasses, ground covers, shrubs, and trees planted for their ornamental and functional qualities. Planted areas include residential, commercial, and public landscapes. Close to 5,500 street trees are maintained by the City's Parks and Recreation Department. Notable specimen trees can be found on the High School grounds and at Library Park. In addition to the environmental benefits, this plant material contributes much to the atmosphere and character of the City.

Forty-six species of birds are common to the area, sixteen of which are considered year-round residents. Many species of birds feed in the near-shore waters of Santa Monica Bay. No coastal strand birds are known or likely to breed in the City's coastal area, due to its disturbed nature and absence of specific habitat. The shoreline area provides a feeding and resting zone, particularly in rocky areas. Two endangered bird species, the California least tern and the brown pelican, are known or likely to feed, fly over, and rest along the near-shore waters or beach areas. No nesting sites are known to have been established in El Segundo.

Near-shore marine fishes include anchovy, surf perch, and croakers. The waters immediately offshore do not support commercial fishing. Common marine mammals observed in the offshore area include dolphins and California sea lions.

In addition to domestic pets, mammals and reptiles likely to occur include the California ground squirrel, house mouse, and Western fence lizard.

The El Segundo Blue Butterfly is listed on the federal endangered species list, and is dependent upon and rarely strays from coastal buckwheat plants. At this time, the butterfly occurs on a 1.96 acre preserve adjacent to and maintained by the Chevron Refinery and in the dune area under the flight path of the Los Angeles International Airport (City of Los Angeles).

Mineral Resources


The community's association with oil dates back to its founding in 1911 when land of the original rancho was sold to develop a second refinery for the Standard Oil Company and a company town. The El Segundo Oil Field, part of which underlies the City of El Segundo, was discovered in 1935. The field has to date produced over 14 million barrels of oil and condensate. Production has declined since 1967. Although only five wells continue to produce, the production and refining of oil resources is an important part of the City's historic and cultural legacy.

Goal CN1: Beach Preservation



Ensure long-term public access to a safe, clean beach environment within and adjacent to the City.

Policy CN1-1

Review and update if necessary the City of El Segundo Local Coastal Program adopted by City Council, July 1980.

Policy CN1-2

Monitor coastal water ordinances and compliance with state and regional requirements.

Policy CN1-3

Monitor beach erosion and contamination cleanup.

Policy CN1-4

The City shall establish policies and procedures for watershed and storm water management. (Ord. 1279, GPA 92-2, 10/7/97).

Goal CN2: Water Supply



Assist in the maintenance of a safe and sufficient water supply and distribution system that provides for all the water needs within the community.

Policy CN2-1

Periodically evaluate the entire water supply and distribution system to ensure that future water needs will be met.

Policy CN2-2

Devise strategies to cope with any interruptions of, or limits in, the supply of potable water to the community.

Policy CN2-3

Investigate creating a new water conservation ordinance to address the demand created by new development.

Policy CN2-4

Implement water conservation measures as necessary to ensure sufficient water supplies for human consumption, sanitation, and fire protection.

Policy CN2-5

Require new construction and development to install water-conserving fixtures and appliances to reduce the amount of new demand.

Policy CN2-6

Encourage the retrofitting of existing systems with water-conserving fixtures and appliances.

Policy CN2-7

Require new construction and development to incorporate the principles and practices of sound landscape design and management, particularly those conserving water and energy.

Policy CN2-8

Encourage the retrofitting of existing landscapes to incorporate the principles and practices of sound landscape design and management, particularly those conserving water and energy.

Policy CN2-9

Determine which users qualify as heavy water users and require those users to have water budget plans.

Policy CN2-10

Utilize the programs and assistance of state and regional water agencies to increase water conservation throughout the community.

Policy CN2-11

Encourage, whenever appropriate and feasible, development techniques which minimize surface run-off and allow replenishment of soil moisture. Such techniques may include, but not be limited to, the on-site use and retention of storm water, the use of impervious paving material (such as walk-on-bark, pea gravel, and cobble mulches), the preservation of vegetative covers, and efficiently designed and managed irrigation systems.

Policy CN2-12

Examine and utilize where appropriate and feasible the use of alternative water supplies. Clearly define the techniques and applications for the use of grey water and reclaimed water for the citizens of El Segundo.

Goal CN3: Groundwater Contamination



Protect groundwater and coastal waters from contamination.

Policy CN3-1

Identify any source contamination originating within the City limits.

Policy CN3-2

Require written notification of groundwater contamination to the City by any state or regional permitting agency.

Policy CN3-3

Monitor compliance with any state or regional permitting agency.

Policy CN3-4

Make permit and compliance information available to the community.

Goal CN4: El Segundo Blue Butterfly



Protect the rare and endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly.

Policy CN4-1

Develop and encourage environmental protection policies that protect sensitive habitat areas, including coordination with city, county, state, and federal agencies having jurisdiction over such areas.

Policy CN4-2

Protect the coastal habitat of the El Segundo Blue Butterfly.

Policy CN4-3

Work with Chevron Refinery and appropriate community organizations to monitor the condition of coastal habitat areas of the El Segundo Blue Butterfly.

 Policy CN4-4

Designate the habitat of the El Segundo Blue Butterfly as open space in the Land Use Element.

Policy CN4-5

The City will continue to promote research on the potential effects of Malathion spraying on the El Segundo Blue Butterfly, and if warranted, ensure that the appropriate agencies take precautionary measures to avoid eradication of the endangered species.

Goal CN5: Urban Landscape


Develop programs to protect, enhance, and increase the amount and quality of the urban landscape to maximize aesthetic and environmental benefits.

Policy CN5-1

Preserve the character and quality of existing neighborhood and civic landscapes.

Policy CN5-2

Identify the characteristics and qualities of the urban landscape that are valued by the community.

Policy CN5-3

Survey existing street trees and other specimen trees throughout the community. Identify those with historic or visual significance.

Policy CN5-4

Establish density and development standards that protect and reflect the character and quality of existing neighborhoods and minimize the loss of landscaped area.

Policy CN5-5

Establish a street tree program, including a computer-aided inventory, which identifies appropriate varieties, required sizes and spacing, maintenance and replacement standards, and planting schedules.

Policy CN5-6

Encourage that any new landscaped areas respect and incorporate the distinctive elements of the existing community landscape.

Policy CN5-7

Encourage and support community action groups in their efforts to enhance the urban landscape.

Policy CN5-8

Increase the quantity of plant material to:

Increase filtration of airborne particulate matter

Increase oxygen production

Provide carbon storage

Reduce the solar heat load on structures and heat gain from paved surfaces

Increase the percolation of water into soil

Decrease run-off and evapotranspiration

Policy CN5-9

Increase the diversity of plant species to:

Decrease risk of plant loss due to disease

Increase the resilience and adaptability of the landscape

Encourage the diversity of birds, insects, and micro-organisms necessary for a healthy urban ecosystem

Policy CN5.-10

Develop standards, procedures, and guidelines for sound landscape design and management. Incorporate these standards, procedures, and guidelines, including conservation concepts, into the City's review and approval process for residential and non-residential projects.

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