Greenprint Projects

Emerald Necklace


Skyline of Los Angeles against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains.
Los Angeles skyline Downtown Los Angeles skyline with snowcapped mountains at sunset. © TNC

The Emerald Necklace is a collaborative vision to develop multi-benefit parks and greenways connecting 10 cities and nearly 500,000 residents along the Río Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers watershed areas located in East Los Angeles County.

The work is supported by the Emerald Necklace Coalition, comprised of 62 member agencies in and around East Los Angeles area who have signed the Emerald Necklace Accord, a legal document that pledges its signatories to work collaboratively to preserve and restore the Los Angeles and San Gabriel watersheds and their rivers and tributaries for recreational open space, native habitat restoration, conservation and education.

When complete the Emerald Necklace Regional Park Network will unify a vast region of Southern California from the desert through the San Gabriel Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, by linking more than 1,500 acres of parks and open spaces along an interconnected greenway on the scale of Central Park in New York.

Year Published: 2016

State: California

Landscape Context: Coastal

Housing Density: Urban

Habitat Focus: Developed

Organizations Involved:

The Conservation Fund, Amigos del los Rios, Sierra Club, Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, Los Angeles County


Open Space/Habitat, Recreation, Community Education, Employment

Stakeholder Involvement:

Stakeholders were involved throughout the process.

Planning Process:

Amigos de los Rios and The Conservation Fund convened focus group meetings in 2012 and 2013 to learn more about partner efforts in the region to inform key GIS layers for maps, to compile existing and adopted conservation plans, and to highlight best practics for conservation and restoration in the region. Over 60 planning, research, and visioning documents were synthesized, over 100 GIS layers were collected to help identify the best ways to realize the vision for the Emerald Necklace.

Desired Outcomes:     

The Emerald Necklace aims to promote active transportation, create functional and multi-benefit natural and built environment netwroks,improve public health and access to recreation, mitigate for impacts of climate change through resiliency measures, enhance habitat, provide educational opportunties and workforces training, and spur a green economy.

What It Accomplished:

Since the plan was started in 2005, ten "jewels" or multi-benefit projects have been implemented in the region and four more are in development. More details about each specific park and its accomplishments are listed on the Emerald Necklace website.