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Letters: Bulldozing a sanctuary

January 01, 2013
  • Forty-three acres at the Sepulveda Basin were reduced to piles of broken limbs and bare dirt by the Army Corps of Engineers in preparation for replanting with native grasses.
Forty-three acres at the Sepulveda Basin were reduced to piles of broken… (Mel Melcon, Los Angeles…)

Re "Nature group stunned after Army Corps levels habitat," Dec. 29

The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve was the first place I took my out-of-town visitors, and my elementary school students went there each year on a field trip. It was a place where we could go to find serenity and enjoy both the scenery and the many species of birds (ranging from young bald eagles to hummingbirds, and pelicans to kingfishers), some found in few other places. To lose this wonderful place is a tragedy.

For Army Corps Deputy District Cmdr. Alexander Deraney to secretly decide to destroy the ecosystem "to discourage crime and increase public safety" is akin to burning down one's home to rid it of a mosquito. I have spent many hours at the refuge and have never seen any crimes or criminals.

Those involved in the wildlife refuge's clearing should be held accountable for this wholesale destruction of habitat.

Donna Engbertson

Lake Balboa

Though I live in the California desert and have never had the pleasure of walking through the Sepulveda Basin, I could only imagine its lush richness with help from reporter Louis Sahagun's description.

I am appalled by the Army Corps of Engineers' botanical massacre. Deraney's explanation fell well short of trying to fathom what and why this happened. The reserve was important.

I hope L.A. County residents demand some justice.

Randy Winbigler

Cathedral City

We are facing the same situation at the Ballona Wetlands in Los Angeles. Many citizens fought for many years to save half of the wetlands from being developed, but now the California State Coastal Conservancy, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers want to bulldoze the wetlands and open up Ballona Creek into this nature preserve to use it as an end-of-the-line cleanup basin for the toxic waters in Ballona Creek.

This is not why we all worked so hard to protect this land. We did it to protect the beautiful native plants and wildlife. Government should respect nature the way citizens do.

Kathy Knight

Santa Monica

While reading the Army Corps of Engineers' acknowledgment that "somehow, we did not clearly communicate" its plans, my husband was reminded of the following dialogue from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy":

"The plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months...."

"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them...."

"But look, you found the notice, didn't you?"

"Yes, it was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying, 'Beware of the leopard.'"

Wendy Prober-Cohen



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