Friends of Ballona Wetlands has its sign back where it belongs.
The organization’s informational sign that normally sat alongside Culver Boulevard in the Playa del Rey area was vandalized and dragged to a creek in the wetlands.
Volunteers Desmond Crumwell, Michael Beverly and Douglas Mercer — and led by Juan Alvarado — retrieved the sign from the creek.
Sign painter Bud Harris of Bud Harris Signs cleaned the sign and the group reinstalled the sign where it had earlier been.
“It must have taken three strong guys to lug that sign to the creek,” said Friends of Ballona Wetlands president Ruth Lansford. “Strong, but not too bright. In the process, they mowed down a swath of sensitive wetland vegetation.”
The Friends organization has recently gone through a period of vandalism with its other informational signs. Signs required by the state Coastal Conservancy in compliance with a restoration grant have been stolen, Lansford said.
A wetlands restoration trailer was also broken into and several dozen expensive binoculars that had been donated by supporters of wetlands restoration were stolen.
Lansford suggests that the large Culver Boulevard sign that was lugged to the creek was probably too large to be loaded into a vehicle and taken away.
Police reports have been filed on all losses and the police are taking an interest in continuing vandalism at the wetlands, Lansford said.
The organization’s president added that tour groups and wetlands restoration work parties have been harassed.
“Some people who call themselves ‘environmentalists’ seem to resent the success of the Friends at the dunes and want to disrupt our activities and undo the work our community volunteers have done,” Lansford said.
“These eco-thugs are not only disturbing our volunteer workers and docents, but in the process, they are frightening visiting school children and making tour leaders nervous,” Lansford said.
Friends restoration coordinator Kelly Rose also lamented the damage to the wetlands, saying the vandals are “also ripping up native plants in the mistaken belief they are non-native. This activity has also been reported to the authorities.”
Otella Wruck, Friends executive director, said her group is “asking friends and neighbors to keep watch and report any more destructive behavior.
“One would think that everyone who cares about Ballona would be delighted to see the dunes restored so magnificently — and all by dedicated volunteers.
“And one would also think educating children about the value of the wetlands would be something everyone could agree on. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be so.”
Those observing suspicious activity in the Ballona Wetlands are asked to call Friends of Ballona Wetlands, (310) 306-5994, or the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Community Police Station, (310) 202-4502.
“If possible, please get a good description of the vandals and a license number of the car used in such activity,” Lansford asked.