The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it won't remove any more vegetation until September from a wildlife reserve in the Sepulveda Basin where 43 acres was razed in December, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday. The destruction, which was not announced in advance, angered local environmental and government groups, including members of the Encino Neighborhood Council.
According to the Times:
Tomas Beauchamp, a corps spokesman, told the Los Angeles City Council that further work on the so-called South Reserve, south of Burbank Boulevard and north to the base of the dam, is on hold, in part because nesting birds have been discovered in the habitat.
The extra time will also permit corps officials to meet with stakeholder groups outraged by the destruction of willows, mule fat, coyote brush and elderberry trees in December. Beauchamp, however, stopped short of saying that no further work would be done.
The Corps said the area was a problem for drug-dealing and prostitution, which was a reason for the clearing of the vegetation. But Los Angeles police had reported no such crimes, according to Kris Ohlenkamp, conservation chair of the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society. Ohlenkamp has called the razing a "travesty" and accused the Corps of lying about the operation.
See these previous stories for more information on the razing of the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Preserve:
SFV Audubon Rep Says Army Corps' 'Lies Have Stopped' About Sepulveda Basin Razing
Encino Community Leaders Move to Sanction Army Corps of Engineers
Audubon Society Finds Vast Area of Destruction at Sepulveda Dam