A California agency said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to obtain a permit before clearing a 43-acre Los Angeles wildlife habitat.
The Army Corps cut down the Sepulveda Basin woodlands last month, destroying a lush refuge for king snakes, bobcats and white pelicans. The corps says it took action to help police deal with homeless camps and lewd behavior.
The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board said the federal Clean Water Act requires anyone working in wetlands to obtain a permit from the state agency.
The board has asked the Army Corps to provide details about the decision to eliminate the woodlands.
The Los Angeles Times reported that clearing the San Fernando Valley area could lead to sediment fouling the Los Angeles River.