Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding those who visit state ecological reserves to be mindful of the site’s specific rules and regulations. CDFW also reminds Californians that trespassing on ecological reserves and wildlife areas that are closed, like the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve (BWER), is not only a crime, but can be very dangerous.
CDFW limits public access to BWER due to health, safety and resource concerns. CDFW is working to address the onsite criminal activity, including drugs, as well as homeless encampments and their related issues. BWER also has sensitive cultural resources that should be respected.
Public access to BWER is available through Friends of Ballona Wetlands (www.ballonafriends.org/), The Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority (www.mrca.ca.gov/), and the Audubon Society (http://losangelesaudubon.org/index.php/education-mainmenu-194/ballona-wetlands-program-mainmenu-203) which conduct organized tours and restoration activities in specified areas of BWER. CDFW also partners with local law enforcement agencies to assist with site security and addressing issues pertaining to the homeless encampments. If people want to participate in protecting, visiting and restoring BWER they can contact the organizations above to get involved. They can also report suspicious activity witnessed at BWER to the CalTIP Hotline by calling (888) 334-2258. Finally, they can spread the word to friends and family about this important natural resource in a highly urban area.
According to state law (Title 14 CCR, section 630), CDFW is obligated to protect and maintain designated ecological reserves which includes enforcing the rules.
Reserves that are open to the public have hours from sunrise to sunset. On all state properties, it is illegal to feed wildlife, operate motorized vehicles outside of designated areas, disturb bird nests, release any fish or animal, start any fire or light fireworks or other explosive or incendiary devices, disturb habitat, alter the landscape or remove vegetation.
Failure to comply with the law could result in a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
For more information on CDFW’s ecological reserves, please visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lands/er/.