Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project Under Way With Public Input

Public Invited to Submit Comments on the Scope of Environmental Documents

The California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have begun the process of developing environmental reviews for the restoration of the Ballona Wetlands in west Los Angeles County. The documents will review potential designs for the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve and evaluate their likely impacts on wildlife, water pollution, local traffic and other factors.  The public is encouraged to submit suggestions for the environmental review at a scoping meeting planned for August 16, 2012.

The Ballona Wetlands was at one time a large wetland complex that covered more than 2,000 acres along the coast near Los Angeles, from Playa del Rey to Venice. Today, the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve encompasses 600 acres owned by the State of California and offers one of the largest opportunities for repairing lost coastal wetlands in Los Angeles County. The site contains important habitat and is identified as a high priority for restoration in the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Plan and the regional strategy of the Southern California Wetland Recovery Project.

The area is currently off-limits to the public. After restoration, the site will be open to residents and visitors for walking, biking, birdwatching and learning about nature. The project may involve removing the concrete levees on Ballona Creek to restore river and marsh habitat between Marina del Rey and the Westchester Bluffs, west of Lincoln Boulevard.  Due to construction costs logistics and wildlife management needs, the project would take several years to build even after it is approved.

DFG and the Corps will hold a scoping meeting on Thursday, August 16, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Fiji Gateway entrance to the Ballona Wetlands (13720 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. The site is across from Fisherman’s Village and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors).

Members of the public are invited to attend, speak to agency representatives and provide input for the environmental review. The agencies expect to examine the impacts to aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, water quality, land use and planning, noise, public services, recreation, sea-level rise, traffic and others.

Written comments on the scope of environmental review, or additional issues may be submitted at the scoping meeting or sent to the address listed below. Comments will be accepted until September 10, 2012

Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project
C/O Donna McCormick
1 Ada, Suite 100
Irvine, CA  92816 or by email to Donna.McCormick@icfi.com

Additional information on the project and the environmental review process is available on the Ballona Wetlands Restoration website at: www.ballonarestoration.org.

Media Contacts:
David Lawhead, DFG Region 5, (858) 627-3997
Donna McCormick, ICF International, (949) 333-6611
Dr. Daniel P. Swenson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (213) 452-3414

DFG to Hold Public Meeting on Pacific Halibut Management

Media Contacts:
Deb Wilson-Vandenberg, DFG Marine Region, (831) 649-2892
Carrie Wilson, DFG Communications, (831) 649-7191
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) invites the public to attend a meeting to discuss the management of California’s Pacific halibut fisheries. The meeting will be held on May 16, 2012 at the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District Conference Room, 601 Startare Drive in Eureka, from 6 to 8 p.m.

DFG staff will provide current information on Pacific halibut management and ocean fisheries in California, and will discuss the possible need for changes in the recreational fishery in 2013. The public is encouraged to provide input to managers and representatives which will aid in the development of future Pacific halibut management.

Pacific halibut fishing regulations are developed through a collaborative process involving DFG, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Fish and Game Commission, the International Pacific Halibut Commission, the states of Oregon and Washington, and the public.

When additional information becomes available on proposed regulation changes, or other opportunities arise for public comment regarding Pacific halibut, DFG will post details on its website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/groundfishcentral.

DFG Holds Public Meetings on Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan Process

Media Contacts:
Carrie Wilson, DFG Communications, (831) 649-7191
Mary Patyten, DFG Marine Region, (707) 964-5026

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will be holding two public meetings to share information about the Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan (FMP) process. The meetings, which will be held in Oxnard and Carlsbad, will provide the public and interested organizations with an opportunity to learn more about DFG’s plans to develop a comprehensive Spiny Lobster FMP.

DFG photo by Dianna Porzio

The public feedback from these meetings will help inform the Spiny Lobster FMP process and aid in the plan’s development.

“The spiny lobster is a prime candidate for an FMP,” said Senior Biologist Kristine Barsky, who will coordinate the FMP process. Barsky has worked predominantly with invertebrate species such as lobster during her 37 years with DFG’s Marine Region.

The Spiny Lobster FMP is being developed in accordance with the Marine Life Management Act of 1998, as the spiny lobster supports important commercial and recreational fisheries and plays a key role in the Southern California kelp forest ecosystem.

“DFG is committed to making this process transparent, objective and accessible to all, with the goal of completing an adaptable FMP that will ensure a sustainable lobster resource and healthy fisheries,” said Barsky.

The agenda is identical for both public meetings so interested parties need only attend one meeting. Members of the public can provide comments in person at either of the following locations and times:

Oxnard: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Open house begins at 6 p.m.
Public meeting will be held from 6:30-9 p.m.
Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center
Ventura Room
800 Hobson Way
Oxnard, CA 93030
www.oxnardpacc.com/directions.html

Carlsbad: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Open house begins at 6 p.m.
Public meeting will be held from 6:30-9 p.m.
Grand Pacific Palisades Hotel
Grand Ballroom
5805 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008
www.grandpacificpalisades.com/map-directions

Written comments may also be submitted after the meetings, either by e-mail through the Lobster FMP web site (www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/lobsterfmp/) or by regular mail to:

Department of Fish and Game
Attn: Lobster FMP
1933 Cliff Drive, Suite 9
Santa Barbara, CA 93109

For more information about these meetings, the Spiny Lobster FMP process or to be added to the list server, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/lobsterfmp/.

Individuals who cannot receive e-mail may sign up to receive the Lobster FMP news notices via mail. Please contact Rosalyn McFarland at (805) 568-1231 to provide your mailing address.

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