LOS ANGELES—The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has certified the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a project aiming to restore the largest coastal wetlands complex in Los Angeles County and increase public access to outdoor recreation and natural spaces in one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
The Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve (BWER) project will enhance and establish native coastal wetlands and upland habitat on 566 of the reserve’s 577 acres south of Marina del Rey and east of Playa del Rey. CDFW said the ecosystem at BWER is considered one of the last remaining opportunities for major coastal habitat restoration in Los Angeles County. Ecological components of the project include enhancing and restoring 200 acres of coastal wetlands, relocating existing levees to reconnect Ballona Creek to its historic floodplain, improving tidal circulation into the reserve, and restoring estuarine aquatic and upland habitats.
Once restored, BWER will be one of the largest natural open spaces available to the public in the city of Los Angeles, second only to Griffith Park.
CDFW will now work with the Los Angeles County Flood Control District in securing a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and completing a federal environmental review document, a process expected to take approximately two and a half years. In addition, approvals from the Coastal Commission, Regional Water Quality Control Board and possibly other agencies are required.