- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

LOS ANGELES—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Dec 16, 2014—A new alliance of community groups, environmental organizations and Los Angeles residents have come together, calling itself “Friends of Oxford Lagoon,” in a last-minute effort to protect a bird sanctuary and 650 trees slated for the chopping block.

Oxford Lagoon Bird Sanctuary in Marina del Rey, CA, the site of 650 Mature Trees and Habitat for many water birds is slated for the chopping block as soon as Thursday by Los Angeles County. (Photo: Business Wire)

The alliance was formed to call for an alternative to LA County Dept. of Public Works’ plans to erase hundreds of mature trees planted by the County in 1963 to attract songbirds after Oxford was dedicated as a BIRD CONSERVATION AREA. Now they want to re-plant another 700+ trees after they bulldoze the lagoon and alter the habitat that currently exists. According to one of the County’s own reports, Oxford is an “important location for juvenile waterbirds.”

“Black crowned night herons, snowy egrets, and great egrets all nest in the Oxford Basin area. Black crowned night herons have been nesting in the area since 1995, snowy egrets have been observed nesting since 2005, and most recently several pairs of Great egrets have established nests in the area. At least 86 heron and egret nests were counted in seven distinct areas, in approximately 12 trees, on June 3, 2008.” (County Study- Chambers Group July 2008)

“It’s time that we start valuing birds and trees that are part of our community,” stated Kathryn Campbell, a resident who was astonished in recent weeks to learn that chainsaws were at-the-ready to chop down 650 trees – trees surrounding Oxford Lagoon. Campbell is also President of the Beach Cities Democratic Club, and when she learned of the project, she posted notices on local democratic list serves.

Organizations joining with residents to form the alliance include: Grassroots Coalition, Ballona Institute, Ballona Ecosystem Education Project and Sierra Club.

“Even though the County claims it will be replacing the trees months from now with immature trees, the chainsawing and bulldozing will cause disruption to the wildlife living in the lagoon,” explained Grassroots Coalition President Patricia McPherson, who is advocating for a sensible, phased approach to any changes at Oxford Lagoon.

“We aren’t asking that this project be completely scuttled, as we understand that thousands of marsh plants have been grown for the project,” stated Kathy Knight, Conservation Chair for Sierra Club’s Airport Marina Group.

“We are seeking a more reasonable, gentler approach that would save public money, involve the community in stewardship and not disrupt the wildlife,” said Knight.

Roy van de Hoek, biologist and President of Ballona Institute, explained further why his organization, Los Angeles Audubon Society, and others have objected to the heavy-handed approach the County is planning to do during the holiday season.

“In Los Angeles’ coastal subtropical climate a number of bird species are already exhibiting courtship and nesting behaviors at this time of year. It’s not ok to disrupt the natural life cycles of these birds, some of which are supposed to be protected by state and federal laws,” stated van de Hoek.

“When the County Supervisors designated Oxford Lagoon as a ‘Bird Conservation Area’ in 1963, it was meant to make up for more than 1,000 acres of the Ballona Wetlands being destroyed to build Marina del Rey. While that wetland habitat could never be replaced, at least this species-rich bird sanctuary ought to be treated with the best protection efforts possible, as was originally intended,” said van de Hoek.

While the rains of last week and this have temporarily halted the project, leaders of this new alliance, Friends of Oxford Lagoon, are asking that urgent calls and email messages be sent to the LA County Supervisors IMMEDIATELY to seek the project’s temporary halt until a gentler, more reasonable approach can be agreed to. If the Supervisors or other elected officials do not intervene, it is expected that the chainsaws will begin their destruction on Thursday.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:https://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20141216006460/en/

CONTACT: for Friends of Oxford Lagoon

Marcia Hanscom, (310) 877-2634

[email protected]

or

Kathryn Campbell, (310) 738-6845

[email protected]

or

Jeanette Vosburg (Grassroots Coalition), (310) 721-3512

[email protected]

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA CALIFORNIA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: PUBLIC POLICY/GOVERNMENT PUBLIC POLICY STATE/LOCAL NATURAL RESOURCES OTHER NATURAL RESOURCES ENVIRONMENT

SOURCE: Friends of Oxford Lagoon

Copyright Business Wire 2014

PUB: 12/16/2014 03:03 PM/DISC: 12/16/2014 03:03 PM

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20141216006460/en


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