Habitat conditions and marine biological communities in the harbor complex have been documented since the early 1950s. The first comprehensive surveys of biological and physical/chemical conditions in the harbors were conducted by the Harbors Environmental Project of the University of Southern California between 1971 and 1978 to document existing conditions and evaluate impacts associated with dredging and planned expansion of the Ports. Several studies were conducted during the 1980s and 1990s, however these focused on one port or the other.
In 2000, the Port of Los Angeles teamed together with the Port of Long Beach to once again undertake comprehensive biological surveys of the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor – our “Biological Baseline Surveys.” Additional surveys were performed in 2008 and 2013-2014, and the latest surveys commenced in 2018.
Surveys evaluate the area’s physical and ecological characteristics, including surveys of kelp, eelgrass, plankton, fish, benthic animals, and marine birds and mammals. These studies also address seasonal variations and the presence of invasive species and compare the ecological characteristics of various types of habitats found in different areas of the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor. The information from these studies has been used in numerous environmental documents and for biological mitigation planning related to port development projects.
To inform the public about the results of these surveys, the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach have created Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbor Habitat: Our Biological Treasures. This publication presents the marine environment of the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor as it existed in 2008 and describes how that environment and its natural resources have improved over the decades as a result of the successes of environmental protection efforts. In addition, the Harbor Habitat is a colorful pamphlet that provides updated information from the 2013-2014 surveys. You can access the brochure online via the links below, or request hard copies of the brochure by contacting the Environmental Management Division at (310) 732-3675.