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The Los Angeles River, after decades of neglect, is progressing towards a $1-billion restoration effort.  Now, a similar treatment is in the works for a small portion of a less heralded waterway - Ballona Creek.

A draft environmental impact report published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife sheds light on three alternatives for the Ballona Wetlands restoration project, which could involve up to 483 acres of undeveloped land at the mouth of the 8.8-mile creek.  The most ambitious of these options could strip away some of the concrete walls that have encased the once meandering waterway since the 1920s, potentially realigning a popular bike trail that runs along its north bank.

Alternative 1: Naturalized Creek

Alternative 1, the most ambitious of the three under consideration, entails the following components:

  • Lower land north of the creek
  • Create earthen levees around northern perimeter and north of CUlver Boulevard
  • Remove armored creek levees, then realign creek for a more natural, sinuous chanel
  • Create and enhanec wetland and upland habitats
  • New bike trails, paths, gateways, educational and art features
  • Improves existing parking areas

 

 

 

Alternative 2: Restored Partial Sinuous Creek

The second alternative offers similar treatment to the first, but with a slightly smaller footprint.  It calls for the following:

  • Lower the land north of the creek
  • Create earthen levees around northern perimeter and north of Culver Boulevard to just west of the junction between Jefferson Boulevard and up to the existing south creek levee
  • Remove armored creek levees and realign waterway as a natural, sinuous chanel connected to the marshplain
  • Enhanced wetland and upland habitats
  • New bike trails, paths, gateways, educational and art features
  • Improves existing parking areas

Alternative 3: Levee Culverts and Oxbow

The third alternative is the most conservative of those under consideration, opting for a more modest restoration of the Ballona Wetlands, minus the dramatic realignment of its namesake waterway.

  • Lower land north of the creek
  • New earthen levee along northern reserve, parallel to Fiji Way
  • Creates culverts along northern armored Creek levee in two places
  • Enhanced wetland and upland habitats north of creek from 90 Freeway to Fiji Way
  • New trails, bike paths, gateways, educational and art features
  • Improves existing parking areas

 

Also under consideration is a mandatory no-build option.

Construction of the wetlands restoration entailed by each of the three action alternatives is anticipated to occur over approximately five years.  The more ambitious Alternatives 1 and 2 would also include a second phase of construction, to occur approximately one-and-a-half years after the initial construction.

More information is available at the official project website.

 

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