Southern California environment news and trends

Nature center proposal reignites debate over Ballona Wetlands

Ballona Wetlands

Andres Aguila/KPCC

The Ballona Wetlands.

There's been plenty of debate over how best to deal with the Ballona Wetlands, and now the Annenberg Foundation has stirred the pot anew.

In the wake of Annenberg's proposal to build a $50 million interpretive center on about an  acre on the northeast edge of Ballona,  wildlife officials are giving the public more time to weigh in -- and that will certainly reopen debate over how to use all 600 acres of the wetlands, which stretch from Venice to Playa del Rey.

The nature center would house exhibits on wildlife and office space. 

Annenberg's offer came as a surprise to the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust and the Ballona Institute, two groups that object to constructing a building on any part of the already-eroded wetlands. Instead, they say they’d like to see an interpretive center outside the wetlands site.

Other groups that have worked in the wetlands for some time stepped up to back the Annenberg plan.

Managers of the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project have now asked for comments to help shape the environmental review coming in the next phase of the redevelopment. The deadline for offering opinions on whether an interpretive center belongs on the site, and how project managers should study it, is March 1st. 

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