May 26, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Judge Rules Against Bulldozing Plan in Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve

Judge James C. Chalfant Of Los Angeles County Conveyed That The California Department Of Fish & Wildlife’s Proposed “Restoration” Plan Was Not Acceptable.

Animal lovers and environmentalists in Southern California are celebrating a victory that benefits approximately one million wild animals across 1,700 species, including endangered and threatened species. 

The Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, located in Playa del Rey, faced a highly controversial bulldozing plan that posed a threat to its existence. However, a California Superior Court Judge has ruled in favor of Protect Ballona Wetlands and Defend Ballona Wetlands, two community groups dedicated to safeguarding this crucial habitat, which serves as a sanctuary for imperiled wildlife and migratory birds, making it LA’s last remaining coastal wetland.

In a detailed 67-page ruling concerning case number 21STCP00240, Judge James C. Chalfant of Los Angeles County conveyed that the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s proposed “restoration” plan was not acceptable. He indicated that the department should either abandon the decade-long, $250 million industrial land overhaul project entirely or start anew to rectify the significant errors in flood risk calculations that were utilized in designing the project. This project is situated in a densely populated region of Los Angeles, located at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Judge Chalfant emphasized that the State could not employ flood risk standards that were deemed unacceptable by the US Army Corps of Engineers. He stated, “Here, the FEIR [Final Environmental Impact Report] is based on flood control design criteria that currently are infeasible under the Corps’ requirements and cannot be built.”

Public interest lawyer Jamie T. Hall highlighted the nature of this ruling, stating, “The engineers who were generously compensated for designing this project used incorrect flood risk standards, which is a glaring oversight, especially considering concerns about sea level rise on the coast.”

Actor James Cromwell, who joined the opposition against the bulldozing plan, confidently stated, “We will win,” during a gathering of animal lovers, environmentalists, and community leaders in Venice. Cromwell questioned the administration’s commitment to “nature-based solutions” for protecting the planet.

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