Category: Ballona Wetlands

Ballona’s $180-Million Question

Wetlands advocates draw battle lines between opposing visions for restoration By Gary Walker   Deep-seeded ideological differences about the ends and means of ecological restoration in the Ballona Wetlands took center stage during last week’s only scheduled public hearing on the document that will guide those efforts. Attendees also learned that the most extensive of three California Department of Fish and Wildlife restoration proposals could cost upwards of $180 million. More than 250 people crowded into the Burton Chace Park Community room on Nov. 8 to raise topics for further study and, in the case of some prominent environmental...

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Which Way, Ballona?

Blueprint for wetlands restoration goes public, and everyone has an opinion By Gary Walker It’s official. The long-delayed restoration process for the Ballona Wetlands began with the Sept. 25 public release of the state’s preliminary draft environmental review of the project, prompting a flurry of activity among wetlands activists, scientists and environmental groups. Five years in the making, the 1,242-page document is the blueprint for possible restoration strategies for the nearly 600-acre ecological reserve purchased by the state in 2003. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is in charge of the restoration, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...

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A Growing Concern

Ballona Land Trust tangles with the Bay Foundation over invasive plant removal By Gary Walker A long-running feud over how to eradicate invasive plant species from the Ballona Wetlands went before the California Coastal Commission this month, with the nonprofit Bay Foundation ultimately prevailing in its request to pull weeds from targeted restoration areas on a year-round schedule. The Bay Foundation and volunteers with the nonprofit Friends of Ballona Wetlands removed 15 tons of non-native ice plant between September and November of last year, according to Bay Foundation records. The work came in response to unprecedented growth triggered by drought-busting winter...

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More Room for the Wetlands

SoCal Gas Co. contemplates shrinking its Playa del Rey gas storage field to expand Ballona’s footprint By Gary Walker The Southern California Gas Co. is collaborating with state agencies on plans to close 18 of the 54 monitoring wells at its Playa del Rey natural gas storage facility, thereby expanding the footprint of the state’s Ballona Wetlands restoration effort. “SoCal Gas is committed to environmental stewardship and supports the Ballona Wetlands restoration project. As a component of the project, we have proposed a plan to abandon or relocate our monitoring wells, in accordance with regulations established by the Division...

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Draining the Wetlands

Activists prevail in campaign to cap Ballona storm drains By Gary Walker Wetlands can play a vital role in absorbing and filtering storm water runoff, but for the past 13 years a network of concrete drains has been preempting nature’s handiwork in the Ballona Wetlands. Now those drains will be capped, following the settlement of a lawsuit that pitted the nonprofit Grassroots Coalition against Playa Vista founding developers Playa Capital LLC and official wetlands stewards the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. The settlement comes four years after the California Coastal Commission launched an investigation of the unpermitted drainage...

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