Development in Marina del Rey: Los Angeles County plans on renovating the Oxford Avenue Retention Basin


A snowy egret at the Oxford Basin, Marina del Rey


The Oxford Basin on Admiralty Way

   All of you who drive on Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey are probably aware of this 10- acre site which is part of what little remains of the original Ballona wetlands. What you see now is a very degraded wetland, surrounded by chicken-wire fencing, with the water covered with algae. Nevertheless, the Oxford Basin  functions  as an indispensable habitat and nesting spot for 51 species of birds and, secondarily,  as a flood control basin. Los Angeles County is now planning on “renovating” the basin by removing all diseased, non-native trees (650 of them) and non-native plants and replacing them with native, drought-tolerant plantings. In addition, the County plans to put in trails around the basin, public viewing spots and educational signage. The County estimates that cost of the project will be $13,500,000. The work was scheduled to begin a few days ago but has been delayed due to the rain.

   While most agree that the basin needs to be upgraded, according to Marcia Hanscom of the Ballona Institute, several environmental groups including the Sierra  Club, the Ballona Institute, the Grass Roots Coalition, the Los Angeles County Audubon Society the West Los Angeles Democratic Club, the Beach Cities Democratic Club and the Ballona Ecosystem Education are opposed to the idea of removing all the existing trees. Representatives from several of these groups will be meeting tomorrow with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Native trees or not, the current population of  birds in the Oxford Basin have adapted to the site as a nesting spot for decades. All birds are creatures of habit and any disturbance to their nesting site tends to produce negative results and a diminution in their number.

  Marcia Hanscom is asking those who support a more moderate approach to the renovation in terms of tree removal to call the five members of the Board of Supervisors and request that one of them be present at the meeting. You can also express your opinion on this subject by using the following contact  information:

* Don Knabe 213-974-4444 (staff: Steve Napolitano – 310-222-3015 – call both offices!)

* Sheila Kuehl: 213-974-3333 (ask to speak to Maria Chong-Castillo even if they say this is not her district – her constituents live in nearby Venice)

* Mark Ridley-Thomas 213-974-2222 (ask to speak to Karly Katona – even if they say this is not his district – his constituents live directly across the street)

* Hilda Solis 213-974-4111 

* Mike Antonovich 213-974-5555

About The Silver Strand News

Resident of the Silver Strand, Marina del Rey, California
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6 Responses to Development in Marina del Rey: Los Angeles County plans on renovating the Oxford Avenue Retention Basin

  1. Daryl says:

    I continue to commend the work you do and information you disseminate, however, leaving replies has been a problem. Tried logging into my account, however, the response was “no record of my having an account”. Tried another email address and password, just in case, but thing. Guess I’ll just have to read the posts and be happy with that. Thanks.

  2. Daryl says:

    As a follow-up to my foregoing reply, it would appear the referenced meeting has already occurred, assuming the Argonaut (12/11/2014) is accurate in its reporting. It is equally important to include in our efforts and comments, that while the displaced birds and other ecosystems do adapt elsewhere, property owners (specifically apartment developments) respond by cutting down the new homes of these denizens. With all of LA becoming nothing more than a mass of concrete, all species are in greater jeopardy than the attention it should garner.

  3. Daryl says:

    There was no date mentioned for a meeting; could that be provided? That rain was the only deterrent to the County’s plans, except for legal action, I question the impact our words would have now, since they’ve meant so little in the past. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I thought we were promised drought-resistant plants in the center islands on Admiralty; instead we got cement tiles. Coupling the Ballona worked with the debacle pending for Via Marina is less than encouraging for those planning a life here. Walked thru Mariner’s Village the night of the boat parade – how tragic it’s in jeopardy. Anyone know the status of the fight? While we can keep fighting, the decisions have been made in both the county and the city as to our fate; only legal action against them both could produce with results we desire. I’ve recommended Robert Silverstein in the past, and continue to do so now.
    Aside from the bird population and building overgrowth is the displacement of the vital insect ecosystem. CVS pharmacy confirmed my experiences here on Tahiti – armies of bugs invading apartments, and people being bitten head to toe – all following new construction projects. Those insects have their place in the wetlands, as well, and shouldn’t be discounted, nor should the structural damage they can cause be overlooked.

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