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Ballona Wetlands Restoration Plan gets a public discussion in Marina del Rey tonight

A sign posted on the locked fence warning people to not enter the Ballona Wetlands in Marina del Ray.
A sign posted on the locked fence warning people to not enter the Ballona Wetlands in Marina del Ray.
Andres Aguila/KPCC

A public meeting about the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Plan takes place this evening in Marina del Rey between 4 and 7 pm. You can get to it from a gate along Fiji Way, along the north side of the wetlands property, opposite Fishermen’s Village.

As Kristin Agostoni points out in her Daily Breeze story today, then-Controller Steve Westly said in 2004, the state’s plan is to make sure that the Ballona Wetlands “stay in their natural state forever.”

“The site contains important habitat,”  says the public notice from the Department of Fish & Game.

Mangers from Fish and Game, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission all say nothing about what happens next is set in stone. The public notice offers some information about what they’re considering:

The area is currently off-limits to the public. After restoration, the site will be open to residents and visitors for walking, biking, birdwatching and learning about nature. The project may involve removing the concrete levees on Ballona Creek to restore river and marsh habitat between Marina del Rey and the Westchester Bluffs, west of Lincoln Boulevard.  Due to construction costs logistics and wildlife management needs, the project would take several years to build even after it is approved.

The Ballona Institute’s Marcia Hanscom and Roy van de Hoek believe large-scale construction will destroy habitat and wildlife at the site already. Some groups have worked on the wetlands already to restore them to a more native state. Friends of the Ballona Wetlands do things like pull invasive iceplant from there, for example, and remove trash.

It’s clear several groups and plenty of people have an expressed interest in what happens at these wetlands. I’ll be there this afternoon to see what that interest looks like.