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Seven Ballonas Demand Environmental Justice and Ecopsychology:
The Good, Bad, and Ugly of the Greater Ballona Wetlands Ecosystem



The Sea Otter once lived in the Seven Ballonas and would again if we demanded it.

The Ballona Wetlands once was very large encompassing parts of Venice, Marina Del Rey, Playa del Rey, and even to the east of Lincoln, Culver, and Jefferson Boulevards. Today, the remaining seven Ballona Wetlands areas are much fragmented, but are now under new attack by new development threats of Playa Vista/Dreamworks.

Instead of building homes and a movie studio on the east side of Lincoln Boulevard, tidal creek channels should be restored under Lincoln, Culver, and Jefferson Boulevards. There is great restoration potential for the Ballona Wetlands. It would not take much effort to restore the Sea Otter, Harbor Seal, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Leopard Shark, and nurseries for such fish as halibut. Why have we as a society chosen more homes, more pollution, and traffic for Los Angeles, instead of Otters, Osprey, Eagles, Seals, and many other Wetlands dwellers? It makes no sense to have more homes, when the open space could be used to restore a vast estuarine wetland in the heart of Los Angeles.

The Seven Ballonas can conveniently be subdivided into subregions today for comparison to show which are good, bad, and ugly. Each wetland subregion has a different owner, different management goals, different ocean tidal flows, and can be given a different rating of good, bad, or ugly. These Seven Ballonas are:

1. Ballona Lagoon Marine Preserve (aka Ballona Lagoon)
A. Public Ownership by City of Los Angeles-Councilwoman Ruth Galanter
B. Rated GOOD due to full tidal flow and City purchases/restoration

2. Marina Del Rey Harbor (aka Ballona Harbor)
A. Public Ownership by County of Los Angeles-Supervisor Don Knabe
B. Rated GOOD due to full tidal flow, polluters are fined & White Sea Bass restoration program in full swing

3. Del Rey Lagoon (aka Ballona Playa Lagoon)
A. Public Ownership by City of Los Angeles-Councilwoman Ruth Galanter
B. Rated BAD due to limited tidal flow, no native plant restoration, not buying land

4. Ballona Creek (aka Ballona River Estuary)
A. Public Ownership by County of Los Angeles-Supervisor Don Knabe
B. Rated BAD due to Beverly Hills, UCLA, Hollywood, and Culver City that allow their pollution to enter street gutters that flow into Storm Drains that flow into Ballona Creek. Most people living in Beverly Hills, UCLA, Hollywood, and Culver City do not realize that trash dumped in their neihborhood streets, parks, schools, sidewalks, and yards enters into the Ballona Wetlands. The simple act of picking up a cigarette fragment on a Hollywood street, a plastic straw off the street in Culver City, a piece of paper off the UCLA campus, and even a gardening decision to not put any chemicals in your garden & lawn in Beverly Hills will help restore and heal the Ballona Wetlands.

5. Venice Canals (aka Ballona Canals)
A. Public Ownership by City of Los Angeles-Councilwoman Ruth Galanter
B. Rated BAD due to almost no tidal flow, LA City selling its land, and not restoring land with native plants and animals

6. Culver Boulevard (aka Culver Tidal Creek)
A. Private Ownership by Playa Vista/Dreamworks
B. Rated UGLY due to no tidal flow, development plans, fake freshwater canal, and bulldozing activities

7. Jefferson Boulevard (aka Jefferson Tidal Creek)
A. Private Ownership by Playa Vista and Dreamworks
B. Rated UGLY due to no tidal flow, bulldozing, homebuilding, fake freshwater pond

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. The City, County, State Fish & Game, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Park Service should acquire all the Playa Vista/Dreamworks lands adjacent to Culver, Jefferson, and Lincoln Boulevards and begin wetlands restoration, raptor restoration, and marine mammal restoration.

2. Prevent runoff pollution by installing two more nets in Ballona Creek, and a filtering system of water.

3. Allow more tidal flow into Venice Canals and Playa del Rey Lagoon. Harbor Seals and many more fish and invertebrates would be able to enter the canals and lagoon again.

4. Restoration of Cordgrass so that Clapper Rail can be restored in earnest. Endangered Clapper Rails need Cordrass vegetation for habitat.

5. Build island habitats in the wetland for birds such as Terns, and monitor them with independent biologists and volunteers.

6. Restore the Sea Otter by translocating young female otters to the Ballona Wetlands and nearshore waters from Palos Verdes to Point Dume, i.e. Santa Monica Bay.

7. Restoration of several raptors, such as the Bald Eagle, Osprey, Northern Harrier, White-tailed Kite, and Peregrine Falcon. We want these birds to be year-round resident breeding birds again as they were 100 years ago. These eagles, hawks, and falcons as mere winter visitors is not good enough. As year-round raptors, the Ballona Ecosystem can be gauged as healthy and visitors would be able to see these majestic raptors 365 days a year. This can be accomplished very easily by raising young Eagles, Osprey, and Falcons on platforms and on high rise buildings in and around the Ballona Wetlands. The bluffs along Ballona near Loyola University are suitable for platform towers for the Osprey and Eagle. The University's high buildings and business buildings near the Ballona Wetlands are suitable for Peregrine Falcon nest locations.

In conclusion, these various restoration opportunities of bringing back the charismatic mammals and raptors, returning tidal flow, in conjunction with cleaning up run-off pollution in Ballona Creek with triple nets, would make the Ballona Wetlands a premiere California and U.S. URBAN WATCHABLE WILDLIFE VIEWING AREA, suitable as a national treasure and thus as a Los Angeles URBAN NATIONAL PARK!