Patricia McPherson, President Grassroots Coalition Bio
Patricia been long engaged with the Ballona Wetlands, having created the Sierra Club’s Wetland Committee in 1989, and founded the Grasssroots Coalition in 1993, with the focus of protecting Ballona Wetlands from development and the public and environment from oilfield gas migration hazards generated by the underground gas storage operations of SoCalGas, Playa Del Rey. The two dove tailed issues led to Grassroots Coalition’s critical engagement with the City of Los Angeles’ Building & Safety Department and Commission, resulting in a new and experimental gas mitigation code for the Playa Vista development site and attendant new Citywide Methane Code. Successful litigation against SCG/Playa Del Rey provided for increased monitoring of SCG wells and alert notifications to the communities overlying and surrounding SoCalGas. The added monitoring provided for discovery of reservoir gas leakage of SCG which led to shutting down the operations for over a year and has served, in part, as cause for the state’s review, citing the SoCalGas/Playa Del Rey operations as one of the most dangerous in California. Numerous cities, including Los Angeles are now supporting the decommissioning of SoCalGas/Playa Del Rey.
Since the 2000s, Ballona Wetland’s fresh watershed and its multiple underlying aquifers have been part of successful litigation and investigations for protection to these natural resources. Currently, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Planning includes the Santa Monica Basin. Due to Grassroots Coalition’s efforts the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve is now acknowledged by the Groundwater Sustainability Planners as a Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem which needs to be included into the planning efforts to protect the groundwater and surface water resources of Ballona, including its multiple underlying freshwater aquifers—Bellflower, Ballona and Silverado that are classified by the LA Regional Water Quality Control Board as Potential Drinking Water.
Grassroots Coalition successfully litigated against both Playa Vista and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife( CDFW) over the illegal drainage and wasteful throwaway to the ocean of Ballona’s ponding rainwater. The litigation brought the issue back before the California Coastal Commission (CCC) who acknowledged that Playa Vista and CDFW had both violated the Coastal Act and harmed the hydrology of Ballona. The CCC ordered the sealing of the drains which has given rise to renewed growth of native habitat ( pickle weed) for the endangered bird, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow in the past few years.
(In pertinent part as McPherson/ Grassroots Coalition also has a lengthy history of working across Los Angeles in the protection to the public and environment from oil/gas issues and habitat protection)
Upon review of the CDFW/ Friends of Ballona meetings with West Basin online, it has come to our attention that the opposition to the CDFW Plan has been a question asked. Please see the following list for some of the opposition to the current CDFW Plan for Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.