The saga of the Ballona Wetlands

Just when you thought it was over and another zillion pricey condos would be built on precious wetlands in Los Angeles – the California Court of Appeals ruled the project’s environmental impact report was flawed and ordered an immediate halt to construction.

“This is a huge victory that Playa Vista is going to have an enormous problem trying to get around,” said Rex Frankel, president of the Ballona Ecosystem Education Project, one of the groups involved in the lawsuit. “To rework an EIR with major problems like this is going to take awhile.”

The Playa Vista Wetlands are about the only remaining wetlands in L.A., and the battle to save it has been going on for at least, no joke, twenty five years. Many condos have already been built there, but part of that agreement was the most precious parts of the wetlands would be restored, and they were.

But developers wanted to build thousands more homes in an already highly congested area, and now their plans have been stopped cold. Back in the early 90’s, in a different lifetime, I was president of the nearby Marina Mar Vista Venice Democratic Club, and this was a hugely contentious and visible battle back then. And had already been going on for at least a decade.

I know for a fact that environmentalist friends in L.A. were dancing on the ceilings after hearing of the decision. From a popular listserv there –

YAHOOOOOOO!!!! Ballona Wetlands Victory Extraordinaire!!!!!!!!!! ”

And it is.


  1. Wait a minute, you were once a Dem??? Ew! But seriously…

    As part of the deal the developers made, a small portion of the wetlands was required to be restored to its natural state. I drove past the “restored” Ballona wetlands yesterday (on my way out of town) and marveled at how that “natural” state includes irrigation and non-native trees. Meanwhile, across the street, huge ugly buildings now fill the southern part of what was once open fields. And yes, Lincoln Blvd. and Sepulveda Blvd, the only north-south arteries near the coast, are more jammed than ever.

  2. While it is well to celebrate one victory, and this is definitely worth celebrating, there is so much work to do. The Governator has called a special session of the legislature to deal with the “water crisis”. There is an ad campaign from the Association of California Water Agencies that started yesterday. The site is called

  3. […] and turns of this saga rival that of the nearby Ballona Wetlands, where environmentalists won a huge victory last week, halting development, maybe […]

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