“World-class megaregions should be showcasing their clean water, healthy communities, and a growing green economy,” says Will Allen, The Conservation Fund’s Director of Strategic Conservation Planning. “We are in the middle of a quiet crisis,” says Claire Robinson, managing director of Amigos de los Rios. “We’re not addressing public health, quality of life, and our relationship to nature.”

So in an attempt to help the region become a leader in recreational green space and public health, Amigos de los Rios turned to The Conservation Fund to help support their decade-long initiative to help realize a green infrastructure vision for Los Angeles County. The new vision has its roots in the original “emerald necklace” in Boston designed in the late 1800’s and a Los Angeles County plan for an interconnected network of parks, trails and green spaces completed in 1930 by the firm founded by urban park pioneer Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., who believed that everyone had the right to common green space.


In 2012, we brought our national expertise in green infrastructure planning to the table to help Amigos and its partners expand and update their 2005 vision to include all of Los Angeles County. The plan, The Emerald Necklace Forest to Ocean Expanded Vision plan for Los Angeles County, completed in 2014, outlines eight regional goals including promoting active transportation such as walking and biking; designing and building communities that are resilient to the current and projected impacts of climate change, and fostering a strong green economy.

Also in 2012, the Fund’s Land Conservation Loan program began providing financing to Amigos de los Rios to assist in developing a 17-mile loop of parks and greenways connecting 10 cities and nearly 500,000 residents along the Río Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers. Since then, Amigos and its partners have been working to implement this vision, converting abandoned lots, empty street medians and other neglected spots into pockets of green.


Implementing the Expanded Vision plan will yield significant long-term benefits to Los Angeles County and its residents. These include safer places for kids to play, cleaner air and water, improved public health, more habitat for wildlife, better resilience to climate change, better historic and cultural preservation, and the jobs and investment that come with a robust green economy.

The ongoing implementation of the Expanded Vision plan, focused thus far mostly in eastern Los Angeles County, complements the investments being made by the City of Los Angeles, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and other partners in revitalizing the Los Angeles River and supports the goals outlined in the recent ‘Sustainable City pLAn’. “The Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision plan is a visionary framework to link important LA area watersheds and the communities they touch,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Much in the way that our vision for the LA River encompasses its entire 51 mile length, both inside and outside our city limits, the Expanded Vision takes a regional approach to providing much needed open space in some of our most park poor neighborhoods.”

"We hope the Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision plan will instill a fierce sense of urgency—a call for real and lasting results to improve green infrastructure—across the entire county. The plan is a roadmap for uniting East and West, Mountains to Ocean, collaborating effectively across jurisdictions to put a human face to infrastructure and accelerate improvements for the benefit of children and public health. We need to promote best practices in sustainable city design and improve access to open spaces."

—Claire Robinson, Managing Director, Amigos de los Rios



We've partnered with nonprofit Amigos del los Rios to plan green infrastructure in under served communities in Los Angeles. Watch our video to learn about our efforts planning parks and natural areas where city residents can experience the outdoors.


The Fund is working with the nonprofit Amigos de los Rios to combine and update the green infrastructure plan for the Los Angeles area. Watch Managing Director Claire Robinson talk about her work with the Fund to increase green space and improve communities in the city. Learn more about our efforts to help create a new Emerald Necklace For Los Angeles.


What's the future Los Angeles look like? We're helping make it green by providing financing and strategic conservation planning to the nonprofit Amigos de los Rios. We hope to provide strategy and planning to connect 10 cities in an “emerald necklace” of parks and trails from the San Gabriel Forest to the Pacific Ocean. Watch our video to learn more about our efforts.