Advocates Wish for Conversion Into Native Wildlife Habitats
By Zach Armstrong
A recent court ruling requires the California Fish and Game Commission to determine whether two paved parking lots, along with baseball fields, around the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve are compatible with the wildlife sanctuary’s purpose.
The lots in question are on the reserve’s northside at area A while the fields, now primarily used for little league baseball games, are in Area C. According to Patch.com, the paved lots were initially transient dirt lots for the 1984 Olympics in 1984, since being used for various purposes including overflow and employee parking.
The Ballona Wetlands Land Trust has supported converting some or all of the paved parking lots into native wildlife habitat since 2017, according to the organization’s president Walter Lamb. It also advocates for the baseball fields either to be relocated or allow stewardship and access for local nature education. Since it determined in 2005 that the land is an ecological reserve, the Fish and Game Commission argued no determination was necessary, according to Lamb.
According to its website, one of the Land Trust’s latest accomplishments is working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and other entities for a new policy allowing general public access from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday to Area A of the reserve where the paved lots in question are. “This important policy change will help the community better appreciate the value of the ecological reserve and help develop the next generation of stewards for our precious natural areas at Ballona and elsewhere.”, the organization states in reference to the policy change.