Protecting the Cradle of Life

--Photo by Marc Evans

Welcome to Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. An oasis of survival. A rare botanical and wildlife montage. Brought to life by Nature, Herself. And surrounded, incredibly, by a teeming metropolis. It's the eternal cycle of life. Enduring. Here in the city. Within it is some of the rarest habitat among California's coastal wetlands.

Ballona (pronounced "Bye-YOH-nah") protects countless habitats and threatened creatures. It is a treasured mosaic for naturalists, set on valuable West Side land where profit-hungry developers never stop dreaming about more condos, hotels, mega-malls and "restoration" in rebar and concrete.

Despite previous development threats to this land, the thousands of animals living here have remained safe. In part because seven species are on state and federal protection lists. But the cycle of life in Ballona may be short-lived. Commercial and governmental threats are ramping up again. Over the past two years, lured by the promise of a multi-million-dollar grant and a developmental deal between two state agencies and two private foundations, government entities and California courts have been considering harmful, destructive, and irreversible decisions. The very lives of the vulnerable residents of Ballona Wetlands are again in mortal danger.

That is important. California's wetlands are almost gone. More than 90% have been bulldozed, drained, and filled. Even though the wetlands are where life begins.

Turn up your sound and get ready. On the pages that follow you will come face to face with the magnificent animals and land formations most people miss as they drive along Lincoln Boulevard at the southeastern rim of the wetlands. Take your time, there's lots to see. Clicking the page titles at top right will take you to HOME. Clicking the "menu," at right, reveals a site map with page links. A "forward" button is at the bottom of most pages. (Use the links when it isn't.) To watch movies full screen, click the expansion arrows on the right side of Vimeo's control bar.

See why it is crucial that Ballona Wetlands remain unchanged -- protected and preserved for future generations.