Take Action!

It is time for ecologically sensitive access to the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.

 

One of the biggest reasons that the Ballona Wetlands remain so neglected over 15 years after acquisition of the land by the state, is that most of the reserve is closed to stewardship and educational programs.  We believe in managed access that is equitable, ecologically-sensitive, and focused on nature.  The reasons for denying access are purely political.   If stakeholder groups such as ours were able to organize events to clean up trash, restore native vegetation and teach kids about the many species of wildlife and plants on site, that would take away the biggest “selling point” for a nearly $200 million proposal to completely reshape the wetlands.  Proponents of that project tout the miles of additional walking and biking trails included in the plan, but neglect to mention that those access features are more than ten years away, dependent on funding above and beyond what must be raised for the core elements of the project, and not ecologically sensitive.  What they can’t answer is why they are opposed to equitable access right now.

Via E-mail:

Please copy the below e-mail addresses into the appropriate To: and CC: lines of your e-mail as follows.

To: director@wildlife.ca.gov

CC: sheila@bos.lacounty.gov
ben.allen@sen.ca.gov
assemblymember.burke@assembly.ca.gov
councilmember.bonin@lacity.org
FourthDistrict@bos.lacounty.gov
landtrust@ballona.org

Then, please write an e-mail message in your own words that conveys the basic message as written below:

Subject: It’s time for ecologically sensitive access to the Ballona Wetlands

Dear Director Bonham,

In 2003, the people of California paid $139 million to acquire the land that is now the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. When the land was acquired and when the ecological reserve designation was granted by the Fish and Game Commission in 2005, it was universally agreed that ecologically sensitive public access was an important component of the management policy.  In fact, the state commissioned a plan for interim access and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing the site for interim access.  Yet fifteen years later, the public is still shut out of this important natural resource.  It is time for that to change.

Over a year ago, your department developed plans for expanded access into Area A of the reserve, but never implemented those plans.  Under those plans, access would be limited to existing gas company roads to avoid any impacts to wildlife or sensitive habitat, and to avoid any potential hazards to visitors.  The Ballona Wetlands Land Trust has committed to making such expanded access successful by contributing staff, equipment (such as binoculars and microscopes) and any other resources that may be needed.  The Land Trust is also prepared to fund bus transportation to ensure that students from under-served communities have an opportunity to experience this special place.

I respectfully urge you to direct your staff to implement the plans it developed using public resources.  If you are unwilling to do this, then I request that you explain why in a written statement, so that the public has an opportunity to address any perceived obstacles.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

Thank you!