Columns by Robert Scheer on Ballona Wetlands in LA TIMES
NEW TIMES LA COVER STORY, THE FINGER, and COLUMNS by Jill Stewart during 1999
LA WEEKLY Column by Jorge Casuso: Ballona Boomerang. August 6, 1999.
Marina Del Rey Argonaut Column by David Asper Johnson: SNOOPING AROUND. May 27, 1999.
Dredging the Marina Del Rey Yacht Harbor. November 18, 1999.
Ballona Wetlands Water Pollution and Oil Spills
Robert Roy van de Hoek
These words by 17 journalists writing on the Ballona Wetlands give us educational insights into the way that a Wetland and Open Space are swallowed up by developers, moviemakers, and big business. For example, the Great Blue Herons is in trouble at Ballona not only as a nesting species but as a year-round resident. The Great Blue Heron at Ballona nest in Eucalyptus, Pines, and Cypress trees. However, one pair reluctantly chose to nest in a palm tree (May 1999). Unfortunately, only one young heron was fledged, although 3 eggs were laid. Being forced to nest in a Palm tree due to lack of other suitable trees resulted in this high mortality.
Unlike Santa Barbara County with ten nesting locations and Orange County with many nesting locations, there are just four nesting locations in Los Angeles County, you guessed it, one is at Ballona. Unfortunately, the rampant bulldozing by the private developers and authorized by the Friends of Ballona Wetlands board members is impacting the number of Great Blue Herons at the Wetlands. For example, just in the last year since bulldozing at the Ballona Wetlands, I have seen the number of Great Blue Herons plummet from 40 to just about 16 individuals. This decline is dramatic with a loss of about 24 Great Blue Herons. The bulldozing took place in areas where the "Great Blue" had foraged in both the coastal prairie and wetlands. In reading the literature, I have learned that the "Great Blue" can spend a considerable amount of time looking for rodents and reptiles in non-wetlands habitats. My field observations confirm this fact. On numerous occasions, in the last three years, I have seen several prairie animals preyed upon, including mice, gopher, lizard, snake, grasshoppers, and beetles being caught and eaten by a Great Blue. These prey items were caught in prairie habitats, not wetlands.
The bulldozing on both sides of Lincoln Boulevard, both sides of Jefferson Boulevard and both sides of Culver Boulevard has taken place in prairie habitat, wetlands habitats, and willow-shrub habitats. It is unfortunate that the Friends of Ballona Wetlands, their biologists on their board of directors (Howard Towner and Ed Tarvyd) believe that it is OK to bulldoze in the prairie, willow scrub forest, and wetlands straddling Lincoln Boulevards. And worst of all, Melanie Ingalls, a National Audubon Society paid employee and Friends of Ballona board member is part of this destruction; some Friends. Melanie Ingalls has told several people that she is on the board of directors not as an Audubon representative, but rather as a private citizen, apparently to remove Audubon from directly being responsible for the loss of the Great Blue Heron.
Perhaps it's time for Melanie
Ingalls to resign from the board of this "unfriendly to birds" organization?
I know Melanie Ingalls personally and she is good kind person, but she
is on the wrong side by being aligned with the "Un-" Friends of "Not Saving
All Of" Ballona Wetlands. She should assist the various Audubon chapters
in joining the "Coalition" of 80+ groups to save all of the Ballona Wetlands
and the associated habitats of the pacific coastal prairie, riparian willow
scrub, sand dunes, and coastal sage "bluffs" . If she really believes that
the White-tailed Kite is her favorite raptor, she should want to see all
the prairie and wetland habitat saved that straddles Lincoln, Jefferson,
and Culver Boulevards. The Kite requires prairies in the upland, if it
is to nest and roost and thereby live in the Ballona landscape, 365 days
a year. It would be pathetic to have only 1-2 Kites visiting Ballona for
3-4 days a year in search of nesting habitat, then finding none, depart