Mr. Davis is confused. The Bay Foundation is a nonprofit environmental group in good standing. Our revenue is from grants and private donations. We are audited annually by a reputable firm and the IRS posts our annual nonprofit filings, along with all other nonprofit groups in the country. We have completed every grant we have received and accounted for every dollar spent, without fail, and have produced excellent results for state agencies, the federal EPA and the communities in which we’ve worked. Many of those grant products—-from greenway plans and kelp restoration to award-winning rain garden and rain barrel projects–are available on our website, www.santamonicabay.org.
The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission is a small non-regulatory state agency whose job is to convene stakeholders of Santa Monica Bay so that we can work together for the good of the Bay. Restoring coastal wetlands where they have been lost or damaged, as at Ballona, is an extremely important part of repairing our coastal environment and protecting people and wildlife from development and climate change impacts. Public access to open space, with trails and educational features, is another critical element of our work along the coast.
There are a lot of problems with wetlands, but Ballona is special because we have an opportunity to do something positive now at a place that is in an unnatural state and really needs repair. A lot of wildlife has been displaced by trash, pollution and construction, and our goal is to get it back to a healthy place for all to enjoy.
The misleading and baseless statements in this editorial are obvious attempts to take the focus off an important job: undoing the damage we humans have inflicted on the Ballona Wetlands, and making it a place of beauty where people and wildlife can flourish. State agencies are creating a range of project proposals that will show what is possible at Ballona, and will present them to the public sometime this year for review. It’s a long process, but it’s a big job, and patience is warranted. It has taken us 100 years to degrade this wetlands to the point where it desperately needs our help, and it will take a few years and a lot of hard work to make it healthy again. I hope the Venice residents will work with us and all the stakeholders for a healthy, thriving Ballona Wetlands.
Shelley Luce, D.Env.
The Bay Foundation and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation