Good Morning Executive Director Arredondo,
Please read for conceptual planning, lessons learned, regarding the 'drowning' and loss of targeted saltmarsh (a vegetation term) to a wetland/upland complex--Elkhorn Slough--due to tidal inundation.
And also, please consider the information in relationship to Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, which is historically and currently a freshwater driven ecosystem, having LARWQCB cited but unsubstantiated, TMDL sediment issues.
PROJECT NAME (ca.gov) Sept. 23, 2021 SCC Staff Report per Elkhorn Slough-Rachel Couch (NOTE 2019 Grant award for Elkhorn Slough that this $980,000 augmented)
Because sediment addition wetland restoration projects are still relatively rare in California, this project is considered a pilot project that can inform strategic planning for this system as well as other wetland ecosystems in California, especially given existing need at Elkhorn Slough and projections of future impacts from sea level rise.
Earlier this year the Wildlife Conservation Board awarded CDFW $3, 672,000 to rebuild a deteriorating berm, in order to protect a salt flat from destructive tidal inundation. The salt flat serves in a similar capacity as do the salt pannes of Ballona Wetlands, namely their function as dry open space for birds that utilize the visual openess for predator alert in the dry seasons and, critically during the winter rains for freshwater ponding that releases food sources including ostracods.
Included here also is CDFW's, the California Coastal Conservancy's (SCC) knowledge of tidal inundation 'drowning' the targeted saltmarsh vegetation at Elkhorn Slough as more funds of public dollars were awarded to CDFW, a couple years ago, to undue the damage from having allowed tidal inundation into Elkhorn's targeted saltmarsh habitat which then 'drowned' in that tidal saltwater inundation.
Lessons learned 16 years after 'restoration engineering' took place, reveals the drowning of saltmarsh habitat at Bolsa Chica, credited to the man-made opening that brings full- tidal saltwater into Bolsa Chica. The area intended to be restored as saltmarsh, as cited in the recent Bolsa Chica Sustainability Report (Dec. 2021), now serves as a 'lessons learned' area, demonstrating the targeted saltmarsh having been destroyed, as saltwater inundation drowned the targeted pickleweed habitat, giving way to open saltwater and mudflats. The red flag warning of the report, recommending immediate closure of the manmade ocean opening.
We believe this information reveals an urgent need for careful consideration of old 'concepts of restoration planning'. Ballona has never been given a chance of utilizing its own freshwater natural resources because the Coastal Conservancy imposed and funded old concepts of engineering full tidal inundation as the preferred methodology of wetland so-called 'restoration'. CDFW has participated alongside Playa Capital LLC and Brookfield in diverting and draining away Ballona's voluminous freshwater resources. It's time to stop such harmful, wasteful
Tonight, (11/7/2023) CDFW is holding a 'Scoping Meeting' online, as part of its fulfillment of performing the court ordered new, legally sufficient Environmental Impact Report. As part of what former Commissioner Irma Munoz requested, a Task Force inclusive of stakeholders, to collaborate in genuine investigation and renewed scrutiny of what is at stake in Ballona's true restoration, please attend.
A virtual scoping meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday 11/7) at 6pm. The meeting link was in the Notice of Preparation that was sent out and posted to our website:
Thank you for your time in review of this letter and hope you will attend,
Patricia McPherson, Grassroots Coalition
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