The City of Los Angeles Port of Los Angeles is required to provide mitigation for port projects that endanger the environment.

Recently, port officials have begun to examine whether the acquisition of Ballona Wetlands and the Del Rey Lagoon in Playa del Rey could serve as port mitigation.

Port of Los Angeles officials are planning to begin efforts to acquire property near the Ballona Wetlands, including Del Rey Lagoon and the former U.S. Postal Service Marina Processing and Distribution Center, for wetland restoration and other wildlife mitigation opportunities.

The City of Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution Tuesday, October 25th, to appropriate $31 million from the unappropriated balance of this year’s Port of Los Angeles budget for wildlife mitigation development at the Ballona Wetlands and the Harbor District.

Port staff plans to immediately begin acquisition efforts for properties such as Del Rey Lagoon and the Postal Service property adjacent to Home Depot on Jefferson Boulevard, where the focus will be wetlands restoration, said Theresa Adams Lopez, port director of media relations.

“The whole purpose is to restore the wetlands back to their original state,” Lopez said.

According to the resolution, properties near the Ballona Wetlands, such as Del Rey Lagoon and the Postal Service parcel, have been identified as a “high priority opportunity for Port [of Los Angeles] mitigation.”

Port officials have been considering wetlands mitigation proj-ects in the Ballona Wetlands area to “offset development” near the port, Lopez said.

But Lopez said the harbor commissioners realize that the acquisition of the 20-acre Postal Service parcel may not be likely, due to a Tuesday, November 1st, deadline for bids to purchase the Postal Service property.

The 20-acre Marina Processing Center property has been on the market since mid-September, after postal officials denied requests by local elected officials, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, to delay the sale for six months.

CB Richard Ellis, a real estate firm, has been advertising the property and says the firm will accept bids only until Tuesday, November 1st.

While the acquisition of the Postal Service site may be unlikely, port officials are still considering the option and plan to consider other properties near Ballona as well, Lopez said.

The sale of the Postal Service property has received interest from a diverse group of potential buyers, including developers, a community group seeking a recreational facility and local environmentalists.

The Del Rey Park Task Force is composed of community members seeking to acquire the postal property primarily for youth sports fields.

The focus of port officials on the property would be wetland restoration, and officials are not necessarily considering a recreational facility at the site, Lopez said.

Chris Nevil, Del Rey Park Task Force member, said that while the goal of port officials may differ from his group’s park proposal, the Task Force supports any effort to preserve the land.

“Our hope remains that by some means or other, the land will have a recreational component, as we proposed,” Nevil said.

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