Category: Ballona Wetlands

Opinion: Let Bird LA Day Make You a Better Human

The parallels between caring for nature and helping the homeless can’t be ignored By Julia Lee The author is a Venice resident who leads writing workshops with homeless youth. Her husband is Tod Lipka, CEO of the Santa Monica nonprofit mental health organization Step Up On Second. Saturday’s 2nd annual Bird LA Day is fast approaching. Forget about movie stars for a day; the real stars are the birds. With our diverse ecosystems of mountains, wetlands, deserts and shoreline we are home to 264 bird species — more than any other place in the United States.  We’re “America’s Birdiest County,” according to the Los...

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Bird LA Day Takes Flight in Ballona

What’s the first thing you think about when you think about L.A.? If it isn’t biodiversity, this event could be an eye-opener. On Saturday, May 7, the National Audubon Society’s Bird LA Day offers Angelenos a new way to look at the city. More than 50 bird- and nature-themed events happening across L.A. County, from the rooftop of the Ace Hotel in downtown to the city’s last remaining wetlands in Playa del Rey, celebrate nature’s celebrities. “Birds are the ambassadors of biodiversity, and therefore well suited to tell the story,” Friends of Ballona Wetlands Executive Director Lisa Fimiani says....

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Killing Plants to Save the Wetlands

Groups seek permission to remove invasive ice plants from three acres of Ballona in Playa del Rey By Gary Walker Restoring a biologically compromised and long neglected 600-acre wetland to a more pristine natural state would require a lot of work, particularly when it comes to removing invasive non-native plant species. The nonprofit Bay Foundation and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife will seek permission to do just that at a meeting of the California Coastal Commission on March 10 in Santa Monica. The permit application calls for the removal of ice plant, a hearty succulent that stifles...

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First and Goal

By Gary Walker When James Butts became mayor of Inglewood in 2010, the former Santa Monica police chief took over a city in search of cultural and economic momentum as it teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. Now Butts is focused on keeping up with billions of dollars in new investment. Last week’s announcement that professional football would return to the Los Angeles area with a privately funded $1.8-billion stadium to be built at the former Hollywood Park race track is the latest and greatest chapter so far in the story of Inglewood’s renaissance. Standard & Poor’s has already...

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Ballona Institute Appeals Marina Hotel Project

A Playa del Rey environmental group has appealed the L.A. County Regional Planning Commission’s unanimous July 22 decision to approve a new hotel complex in Marina del Rey, claiming the project received a “haphazard environmental review.” The Hardage Group aims to build a five-story Marriott Courtyard Hotel and a six-story Residence Inn on Via Marina between Marquesas and Tahiti ways. The footprint would include a parking lot, restaurant, bar, outdoor pedestrian promenade, public anchorage, water taxi shelter and a 1.46-acre wetland park. Ballona Institute leaders Marcia Hansom and Roy van de Hoek filed the appeal on Aug. 5, which is expected to prompt a hearing before the county Board of Supervisors sometime in the next 30 days. Appeal documents claim the project’s environmental review was pushed through by Supervisor Don Knabe and “is the poster child for piecemealing” — a term for illegally approving a series of projects on an incremental basis to minimize perceived impacts. Knabe’s first chance to vote on the project would be during the appeal. Aaron Clark, a land use attorney who represents the Hardage Group, dismissed the Ballona Institute’s claims. “We have reviewed the appeal and believe it to be entirely without merit … [and] look forward to an expeditious appeal hearing before the board,” Clark said. — Gary...

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