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Ballona Freshwater Marsh | Safety Update #2

February 11, 2021

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

An update just arrived (Thurs. Feb. 11, 2021). Older messages on this are further below.


Hello Everyone,
I hope you are safe and well. The latest update is that CDFW Wardens will be patrolling the Freshwater Marsh soon (they may have started already, I am not sure). They will be mainly patrolling the Jefferson parking area in an attempt to increase safety and deter bad behavior, however, they may also patrol the inside gate which has restricted access. If you visit the marsh, please stick to the public trail if you do not an authorization letter to utilize the non-public areas, ie. the back maintenance road. If you need to access the back maintenance road you need to request an access letter, please let me know if you require this. If you do not have your ID and letter on you when stopped by a warden on the maintenance road, you will likely be fined. We still discourage you from going to the marsh, as conditions have not improved and the attackers have not been found. 
Stay safe,
Neysa Frechette
Manager of Scientific Programs
Friends of Ballona
P.O. Box 5159 | Playa del Rey | CA | 90296
Ph: 310-306-5994
neysaf@ballonafriends.org


Hello Birders,
Some of you may be aware that parking, habitat, and safety conditions at the Ballona Freshwater Marsh have deteriorated significantly over the last 8 months or so. I have just been informed that on Tuesday [26 Jan. 2021] a woman who lives in Playa Vista was attacked at the Ballona Freshwater Marsh by three men with knives. She was able to escape and is okay but we don’t know any other details at this time and the men have not been found. The Ballona Wetlands Conservancy is working on measures to increase safety at the marsh. The marsh has not been very safe for some time now, but this confirmed attack pushes us to ask you to not visit the marsh for the time being. Your safety is very important to us. Please spread the word to any other birders that visit the marsh and are not on this email list. If they want to be added to this list for updates, please send me their email address. I will let you know of any new information I receive.

Best wishes during these troubled times,

Neysa Frechette
Manager of Scientific Programs
Friends of Ballona


Lisa Fimiani, long-term board member of Friends of Ballona and maven of all things Ballona, gave me some clarification, which I pass along to you with her consent.

“We have a very serious problem at the Ballona Freshwater Marsh with people who have taken up residence in their RV’s, cars, buses along Jefferson Boulevard; and some of them are not very nice people.  The situation has escalated with more and more people crowding into the few parking spots left, so if you go there to bird you basically cannot find a parking spot on Jefferson.  We’ve been battling this for over a year, long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  The City has been absolutely useless in this situation – claiming they cannot force people to move due to COVID-19 restrictions.  We’ve tried getting the City to put up NO OVERNIGHT PARKING signs, but the City won’t enforce them.  Meanwhile, some of these “service resistant” folks have been cutting bushes and trees down for firewood, snagging wildlife with fishing lines, [going to the bathroom] everywhere, dumping unbelievable amounts of garbage, and basically running roughshod over our beloved Freshwater Marsh.  I’m so angry I can barely speak about this, and the Marsh Manager, Edith Read, is beside herself (she’s copied).  Her crew has had to deal with this mess, as well as the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy, who have been forced to hire HAZMAT crews and now security to patrol the area.

If you know anyone high up in government who can help, please reach out.”


There you have it. Be careful out there. And if you have any pull, push or twist with local government, feel free to use it.

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