Nesting birds have gummed up plans by the Army Corps of Engineers to resume its controversial brush clearance and revegetation efforts at a 48-acre wildlife preserve behind Sepulveda Dam, it was reported Tuesday.
The Daily News quoted Tomas G. Beauchamp, the Corps chief of operations, who said "we found a nest this morning near the bridge, and in a pothole pond.
"We're not going to be chipping any wooded material," he said.
The Corps of Engineers and local birdlovers reached an understanding about chipping up wood trunks and other debris left when the Army -- without much advance notice -- plowed through 43 acres of wildlife preserve just before Christmas.
Wildlife advocates were to monitor the resumed work in the flood control basin behind the Sepulveda Dam. The new plan was to "convert the area to a more-valuable and sustainable habitat that will improve flood management operations and enhance public safety," according to an Army statement issued last week.
A San Fernando Valley Audubon Society birdwatcher said her group supported the new plan. Birdwatchers had loudly complained when the wilderness was bladed.
The Corps said illegal camping, drug-dealing and prostitution were occurring in the former dense forest glade, just a few blocks from Sepulveda Boulevard. But Los Angeles police had reported no such crimes, the bird lovers said.
The clearance plan had not been seen in advance by officials at the regional branch of the California State Water Quality Control Board, which regulates water pollution issues. The board has since demanded that the Corps answer 26 points raised by the state.