The Ballona wetlands is an environmentally sensitive marsh and a complex landscape of dunes and coastal wetlands. with more than 250 species of birds including the endangered Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, Least Bell’s Vireo, and the El Segundo Blue Butterfly. Millions of birds fly along this 7,500-mile migratory route extending from South America to northern Alaska.
Great egret flying in the Ballona Wetlands. (Lauren Man/Assistant Photo editor
This wildlife habitat in our backyard is where families used to visit and scientists studied. But no more – because it is unsafe.
This ecological gem is located southwest of Lincoln and Jefferson Boulevards has become a nidus for crime and is home to more than 45 illegally parked RVs. Because of Covid, parking restrictions throughout Los Angeles have not been enforced.
"The impact RV and tent campers have on the oceans as well as the wetlands is significant." Environmental activist Rick Swinger
New trails have been made into the interior of the wetlands, chopping down trees for wood, leaving piles of garbage, glass pipes, human feces, needles, and disassembled bikes. The trash is also bringing new rodents and predators to the area. The storm drains that lead to the ocean are full of plastic and other debris.
“I have documented drug use, theft, assaults, destruction of property, chop-shops, and more. Human excrement is everywhere.” Scott Culbertson, Friends of Ballona Wetlands
In March 2021, a fire started in the encampment burned five acres. The Fire Department was unable to access the hydrant because it was blocked by an inoperable RV and required nearly two hours and 54 firefighters to put out.
"A fire like this will impact the birds, animals, and plant life. Because it's springtime, birds will lay eggs and an untold amount of eggs was likely destroyed.” Environmental activist Rick Swinger
A mass shooting occurred in the RV encampment, leaving four men in the hospital. The suspect remains at large.
The ongoing crime and violence in and around these unregulated encampments simply cannot be tolerated. The RVs and those living in the wetlands need to be removed entirely as acres of mature, native habitat have been destroyed. The impacts on native wildlife and habitat are massive and may never return.
To lose this very special ecosystem would be an environmental disaster.