HERE for a Regional Trail Map of
the Basin (13.26MB pdf file) – Click
HERE for a local trail map of
the Wildlife Reserve
August 3, 2014, 8am-11:30am (Sunday)
September 23, 2014 (Tuesday)
Current Postings and Recent Issues
Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Areas Steering Committee receives "Hero of the Los Angeles River" Certificate of Commendation from Paul Koretz, Councilmember 5th District
Above left, Certificate reads "On the occasion of the first Los Angeles River Day, the City of Los Angeles salutes you for your tireless work and stewardship of the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area, the adjoining river, and the creatures which inhabit it. It is efforts likey yours which make Los Angeles a better, more verdant, more livable city for all." Above right, Steve Hartman of the California Native Plant Society, one of the Steering Committee's founding members, accepts the Commendation on behalf of the Committee during the ceremony at City Hall on June 4, 2014.
three rapidly growing chicks and mom trying to fit in a small nest this
year, we had our first chick leave the nesting tree
Great Horned Owl Nesting in the Wildlife Reserve
L.A. Regional Water Board Files Notice of Intent to Sue U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers for Water Quality Violations
Cites Violations of Federal Clean Water Act at Verdugo Wash and Sepulveda Basin
The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (Los Angeles Water Board) has issued a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) for two unauthorized dredge and fill operations in Los Angeles County that violated the federal Clean Water Act and the California Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act.
The Water Board is being represented in the matter by the California Attorney General's office.
Click HERE to read more.
read the entire Finding
of No Significant Impact
for the Vegetation Management plan.
On March 19, 2013 the City Council passed the Sepulveda Basin habitat destruction motion authored by Councilmember Jan Perry.
Click here to view the video clip, scroll down to Item 6. Here are the adopted recommendations:
ITEM NO. (6) 13-0024
AD HOC RIVER COMMITTEE REPORT relative to the eradication and loss of habitats in the San Fernando Valley Sepulveda Basin.
Recommendations for Council action, as initiated by Motion (Perry - LaBonge):
1. INSTRUCT the Bureau of Sanitation and Planning Department, in coordination with the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA), and in consultation with the City Attorney, the United States Corps of Engineers, the Audubon Society, Friends of the Los Angeles River, and any other pertinent entity, to prepare a report that explains the recent loss of 43 acres of bird, mammal, and reptile habitat in the San Fernando Valley's Sepulveda Basin without preparation of an Environmental Impact Report.
2. INSTRUCT the Bureau of Sanitation and Planning Department to include in the report if any endangered species were compromised, and whether there will be any detrimental impacts to air quality, and if any improvements were paid for with public funds or charitable contributions, and information as to which departments, if any, are responsible for overseeing projects that the Federal government is involved within City boundaries.
3. REQUEST the Commander of the Los Angeles District of the Army Corps, to present to the City Council their Vegetation Management Plan as well as a summary of additional community input they receive from follow-up meetings, and the results of the investigation of the loss of the 43 acres habitat.
4. REQUEST the Army Corps to work with the Bureau of Sanitation to come up with a collaborative agreement that meets the Army Corps' needs, the community’s concerns, and addresses the Regional Water Quality Board’s requests.
5. DIRECT the Bureau of Sanitation to act as the City lead, to provide support so that all interested parties can create a well received next phase mitigation plan.
6. REQUEST the Army Corps and the Bureau of Sanitation to come back with a plan within four to five months and provide a status report on the coordinated effort.
Wildlife Sightings and Photo Links
January 14, 2014 A Bald Eagle was seen over Lake Balboa (Daniel Tinoco).
January 5, 2014 Kris Ohlenkamp observed a Swamp Sparrow.
November 29, 2013
A Tennessee Warbler
was seen at the Sepulveda Basin. Also seen was an
American Redstart (Jim Royer).
August 24, 2013
Unusual more than a short distance from the immediate coast was
a Brown Pelican at Lake Balboa (Mike Stensvold).
July 28, 2013 A
Willow Flycatcher in suitable breeding habitat along the
LA River in the Sepulveda Basin on July 28 (Jon Fisher) was
interesting but probably an early
March 12, 2012
Steve Hartman observed a dark-form pealei Peregrine
Falcon perched on a cottonwood on the island in the North
Reserve in the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve. Confirming the
sighting and providing the subspecies was Jean Brandt and Phil
December 9, 2011
in the afternoon two immature Bonaparte's Gulls were
seen at Lake Balboa in Encino. At the Sepulveda Basin
October 29, 2011
Visited for a few hours in the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife
Reserve in the evening. I observed a fly-over the lake a group
of eight White Pelicans
September 24, 2011 Steve Hartman spotted a group of what were likely Vaux swifts. Silhouette above is from photo Steve took with his iPhone.
September 23, 2011
I re-found the Orange Bishop at Sepulveda Basin - South
from Burbank Blvd. (along LA river between Sepulveda Dam and
September 22, 2011 Baird's Sandpiper in the LA River in the Sepulveda Basin (Scott Logan)
September 21-22, 2011 Palm Warbler at the Sepulveda Basin (Danial Tinoco)
September 18, 2011 Summer Tanager (Scott Logan)
August 9-12, 2011
Black Skimmer at Lake Balboa (Kate Rogowski)
On November 7, 2010
I visited Lake Balboa where I found - thanks to all prior
postings - at least two maybe three Common Loons and a number of
I spotted one flying
male Wood Duck that attached itself to a small group of mallards (two males
and one female) today (October 3, 2010) in the evening at
Injured at Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Lake Is Healthy Again, Released
Back Into the Wild
The release happened Saturday, December 1, around 11:00 AM. The
International Bird Rescue released two rehabilitated white pelicans:
"our" white pelican that had been found ensnared in fishing line and
a plastic bottle at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve and a
second one that had been found in Long Beach with a broken bill. On
hand were the IBR's board president Dave Weeshoff and the manager of
their San Pedro wildlife center Julie Skoglund; two officers from
the City of Los Angeles SMART Team; a troop of Eagle Scout
candidates; members of San Fernando Valley Audubon, local
photographers and a photographer from the Los Angeles Times.
SB 1201 SIGNED BY GOV. BROWN TO LEGALIZE ACCESS TO
SOFT-BOTTOM REACHES OF THE L.A. RIVER
Community Conservation Solutions Releases
Feasibility Studies for L.A. River Natural Park
issues are the back door to land preservation
Bull Creek Restoration Project
In spring of 2009 the Bull Creek Channel Ecosystem restoration project was completed. Features were to include 28-acres of aquatic, riparian and native upland habitat to enhance wildlife resources along the Bull Creek channel. An oxbow (or “C”-shaped) side channel was excavated to allow water to flow from south of Victory Blvd. around an island to the Los Angeles River, but the storms of the winter of 2009-2010 resulted in severe erosion along the creek banks and the complete filling in of the oxbow with silt. The construction portion of the project was completed in May, 2009. Reclaimed water from Lake Balboa is flowing into the channel near the oxbow to enhance the existing flow. Below is a sequence of images showing the finished project, the first erosion on the east bank, the filled in oxbow, and the ensuing emerging vegetation.
A couple of small hills were created as part of this project and they
are covered with mostly native wildflowers, including yellow yarrow,
sticky monkeyflower, Plantago, mints (Salvia spp.),
California poppies, and others. Mixed in with these plants are various
native shrubs including California walnut. At the base of the hill and
on the surrounding areas is a (so far) very successful planting of
About the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin
All property within the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin is owned by the Los Angeles District Corps of Engineers, but more than 80% of the land is leased out for recreational and agricultural uses. Sepulveda Dam, completed in 1941, is a dry-land reservoir, with the purpose of controlling runoff from nearby San Gabriel, Santa Monica, and Santa Susana Mountains.
Besides the Encino and Balboa golf courses, the Balboa Sports Complex, and the model airplane field, most of the Basin was devoted to agriculture (corn and then sod farms). In the mid-1960’s, Burbank Blvd. was extended across the Basin. In the 1970’s the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation built the Donald Tillman Water Reclamation Plant within the Basin (over the objections of the Corp of Engineers).
In March of 1981, a revised Master Plan for the area was adopted. At the time, of the 2,150 acres in the Sepulveda Basin, approximately 1,060 acres were committed to recreational uses. The updated Master Plan designated an additional 540 acres for future recreational uses. Included in the plan are provisions for the commitment of approximately 220 acres of land to informal park space, 120 acres for development of a recreational lake, 108 acres for a wildlife management area, and 60 acres for an “arts park” that has been subsequently redesignated for a “sports complex” (the area west of Balboa Blvd. just north of the Los Angeles River.
The Master Plan also tried to minimize adverse environmental effects and recommended “designing reaches of newly-formed lakes and ponds
In 1979 the Corp of Engineers developed the first area of the Wildlife Reserve (formerly called the South Reserve), an approximate 48 acre parcel located south of Burbank Blvd and bordered by the Los Angeles River and the Sepulveda Dam on the east and south. A “pothole” pond (fed with piped-in fresh water) was created, and vegetation representing coastal sage scrub and riparian woodlands were planted. This area was drastically altered in December 2012 and as of January 2013 there were ongoing negotiations between environmental groups and the Army Corps of Engineers (see section above below upcoming events).
The approximate 60-acre North Reserve (north of Burbank Blvd., east of Haskell Creek, west of the Dam) was developed in 1988,
featuring an 11-acre lake with an island and wildlife viewing stations. Various revegetation projects have been undertaken since then.
the reserve entrance and restrooms.
In 1991 the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant Flood Protection Project was finalized, and subsequently a berm was built
around the Water Reclamation Plant to protect it from flooding, compensating excavation was performed in various places,
and the outflow from the Water Reclamation Plant was
rerouted under the dam so the outflow was outside
(to the south) of the Dam. The 7-acre berm was planted
with California native plants and is the largest native landscaping project developed by the City of Los Angeles.
In 1994, the City and Federal governments agreed to sharing the costs on $11 million in improvements in the Sepulveda Basin.
The wildlife are was expanded 110 acres to the west of Haskell Creek (on either side of Woodley Avenue).
Additional facilities in the wildlife area included trails, restrooms and staging area, signs, benches, viewing blinds and parking. This project was completed in 1999.
Member Organizations and Affiliated Agencies
California Native Plant Society
Sierra Club, San Fernando Valley Group
The Canada Goose Project
LA City Rec and Parks
Resource Conservation District
The Japanese Garden
Web page and design by Justin Baker.
Last Updated 7/07/2014