The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, previously the California Department of Fish and Game, has issued a revised notice of preparation for an environmental impact report (EIR) to inform applicable public agencies and the public about refinements to the planned restoration of the Ballona Wetlands.
As the lead agency, Fish and Wildlife is required to prepare under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) an EIR, which will be crafted in conjunction with an environmental impact statement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act.
Previously, Fish and Wildlife issued a notice of preparation on July 26. The new notice includes additional information about visitor-oriented facilities, specifically an interpretive center component for the Ballona Wetlands restoration project. It does not change any information in the July notice but should be considered in addition to the July document’s information, according to state officials.
The nature center is being proposed for construction near a section of the Ballona Wetlands known as Area C. The site contains Culver-Marina Little League baseball fields on Culver Boulevard in Playa del Rey. More detailed location information for the entire Ballona Wetlands is contained in the July notice, say Fish and Game officials.
As reported in The Argonaut Jan, 30, the interpretive center would be an approximately 46,000-square foot building and include an auditorium, classrooms, facilities for an animal adoption and care program, exhibits on wildlife and domestic animals, veterinary facilities limited to care for program-related animals housed on site only, office space for administrative and educational staff, optional retail and concessions space and parking.
The Annenberg Foundation would be funding the construction of the center.
The project’s effects, as refined with information about the interpretive center, will be analyzed and addressed in the EIR/EIS for the following environmental topics: aesthetics, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning, noise, public services, recreation, sea-level rise, traffic and utilities.
Fish and Wildlife invites affected agencies and the public to provide additional comments regarding the appropriate scope and preparation of the environmental document, especially in light of the refined project information concerning an interpretive center.
New written comments on the scope of environmental review may be submitted to the address listed below. Such comments should be submitted by March 1.
Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project C/O Donna McCormick 1 Ada, Suite 100 Irvine, CA 92816, or by email to: Donna.McCormick@icfi.com.
Additional information on the project and the environmental review process is available on the Ballona Wetlands restoration website at: www.ballonarestoration.org.

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