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Community Support Saves the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve! The Threat California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposed a new connector to the 101 and 405 freeways The project would have significantly damaged the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve

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Presentation Transcript
the threat
The Threat
  • California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposed a new connector to the 101 and 405 freeways
  • The project would have significantly damaged the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
  • Harmful effects on wildlife reserve would have included:
    • Increased air, land, and sound pollution in a natural area
    • Loss of sense of immersion in nature for Reserve visitors

A view across the lake near where the new connector would have gone

what is the sepulveda basin wildlife reserve
What Is the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve?
  • A public nature reserve
  • Home to thousands of animal species, both permanent residents and migratory residents
  • Used by people all over the city
  • Located in South San Fernando Valley

A family enjoys a walk in the


history of the reserve
History of the Reserve
  • During 1960s and 1970s, Sepulveda Basin was open space and farm land
  • Nearly 30 years of hard work were spent in turning the Sepulveda Basin into a habitat for plants and animals
  • In 1980s, Sepulveda Basin was opened as a public park and wildlife reserve
  • Also used as a flood control basin for the San Fernando Valley
extensive habitat restoration
Extensive Habitat Restoration
  • Since the 1980s, habitat restoration has continued with plantings of many additional native plants and trees
  • New pathways, viewing stations, and educational areas were added
  • Significant public resources and countless volunteer hours have been devoted to restoration and maintenance

Years have been spent restoring

the Reserve’s habitat, shown here

importance of the sepulveda basin wildlife reserve
Importance of the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
  • One of the finest wildlife refuges in Los Angeles
  • Home to hundreds of animal and plant species
  • A community sanctuary for families, birders, nature-lovers, and people just wishing to spend time in a beautiful place
  • A place to escape L.A.’s busy urban areas and find nature’s beauty and tranquility

An elegant Great Blue Heron standing

next to a turtle at the Reserve’s lake

community and volunteer events and activities held at the reserve
Community and Volunteer Events and Activities Held at the Reserve
  • San Fernando Valley Audubon Society (SFVAS) bird walks
  • Group nature walks and hikes
  • Watershed trash clean-ups
  • Educational field trips for local schools
  • Tracking migratory bird species
  • Promoting Reserve-based conservation programs

An educational field trip at the Reserve

led by a volunteer

caltrans proposals
Caltrans’ Proposals
  • Caltrans proposed a new connector for westbound 101 and southbound 405 freeways to make traffic smoother
  • Several options/alternatives were offered, two of which would have involved construction on the Reserve
  • Under two of the alternatives, parts of the new connector would have gone through the Reserve

The general area that would have been affected by

the freeway connector. The upper right area of the green space shown in the above picture is the Reserve.

alternative 1 would not harm reserve
Alternative 1: Would Not Harm Reserve
  • Would provide a new connector, but the on- and off-ramps would not enter the Reserve
  • Has smallest impact footprint on Basin
  • The Reserve would remain as is and would not be endangered by the freeway or any construction
alternative 2 would harm reserve
Alternative 2: Would Harm Reserve
  • A new connector would be built for the westbound 101 and southbound 405
  • A new on- and off-ramp would be built, as well as a new Burbank Boulevard bridge
  • On- and off-ramps would enter the Reserve, causing a decrease in plant growth and animal residents due to worsened noise and air pollution
alternative 3 most significant impacts on reserve
Alternative 3: Most Significant Impacts on Reserve
  • This alternative is similar to alternative 2, but the curves of the on- and off-ramps would be much larger, leaving a much bigger footprint in the Reserve
  • Would cause worsened pollution and other environmental problems
no build alternative
“No Build” Alternative
  • This alternative would be chosen if Caltrans decides not to build a new connector for the 101 and 405 freeways
  • Would also be chosen by Caltrans if Alternative 1 would significantly increase street traffic
specific environmental impacts
Specific Environmental Impacts
  • Freeway would have caused increase in pollution of:
    • Air
    • Water
    • Land
    • Sound
  • Because the wildlife area is still maturing, it is important to consider the impact on potential plant and animal species that may be found here in the future

View of Haskell Creek

widening of haskell creek
Widening of Haskell Creek
  • New ramp would have taken up space and caused decrease in Basin’s flood control capacity, possibly making necessary a widening of Haskell Creek for flood control purposes
  • If Haskell Creek were widened, negative impacts may have included:
    • Destruction of nesting habitat of Least Bell’s Vireo
    • Destruction of the Sepulveda Basin’s pedestrian bridges connecting sections of park
    • Loss of hundreds of riparian trees planted along banks of Reserve by volunteers and public agencies

Bridges that connect areas of the

reserve would have been destroyed by Haskell Creek widening

  • “We’ve trained the geese to come here for 20 years and forage in grasses we planted. Are they going to come one year and it will be a dirt construction site?”

-Steve Hartman, volunteer for California Native Plant Society

  • “Not only will you be interfering with nature, but you will also be interfering with the educational opportunity that thousands of children have benefited from over the years and that many more can benefit from in years to come.”

-Jose Salgado, 5th grade teacher, Gratts Elementary School, Los Angeles, CA

Kids observing the amazing White

Pelicans as they migrate to California during the winter months

  • “Every year tens of thousands of children, families and other nature lovers find peace, tranquility, and the opportunity to enjoy a truly natural setting, near their homes, and do so without extensive travel, carbon emissions, and gasoline expenses.”

-Dave Weeshoff, resident of La Crescenta, CA

The outdoor amphitheater

where students on field trips are first

introduced to what Sepulveda Wildlife

Reserve has to offer by Reserve volunteers

  • “This is like being in a national park without having to leave the Valley.”

-Muriel Kotin, President of San Fernando Valley Audubon Society

A Great Egret takes flight

  • “This experience built my dream of becoming a zoologist and veterinarian. If you destroy this wide space of peace, all my dreams will be ruined.”

-Sean Garcia, 5th Grade Student of Toluca Lake Elementary School, Toluca Lake, CA

A field trip group using microscopes to

identify the lake’s macroinvertebrates

  • “These wetlands provide a habitat for plants, birds, and many other animals. Just imagine harming poor, little, innocent animals and plants. How could you? Protecting nature is our responsibility. If you harm it, you harm us.”

-Ryan Logo, 5th grade student of Toluca Lake Elementary School, Toluca Lake, CA

Students view wildlife in the distance

  • Caltrans announced July 22 that it has selected Alternative 1 as the preferred project alternative!
  • Its decision will avoid major impacts to the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
  • Many thanks to all who wrote letters and contacted elected officials to save the Reserve
for more information
For More Information


  • Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve’s Website
  • San Fernando Valley Audubon Society

  • Los Angeles Audubon Society

Get involved with one of these organizations and continue to help protecting our environment for future generations!

photo credits
Photo Credits
  • Photo on opening slide taken from Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Refuge is an oasis for birds and birders, article by Pete Thomas, Los Angeles Times, photo by Genaro Molina
  • Photos on slides 7, 8, 17, and 19, courtesy of Muriel Kotin, San Fernando Valley Audubon Society
  • Photos on slides 11, 12, and 13 from Draft Environmental Assessment Study (EA/IS) and Section 4 Evaluation
  • Photos on slides 4, 19 and 20, courtesy of Madison Middle School, North Hollywood, CA
  • Photos on slides 8 and 12, from Google Earth
  • All other photos by Daniel Bernstein