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Army Corps Will Start Work Clearing Sepulveda Dam Again

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Late last year, the Army Corps of Engineers cleared 50 acres of the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area, and everyone totally freaked out (the Corps said it was doing flood control and helping to keep "lewd" behavior away; environmentalists were horrified about the impacts on wildlife). Well, now the Corps is about to start work clearing more of the area next week. But it will be better this time! "At the time, conservation groups described the Corps' action as a 'mechanized blitzkrieg assault' and a travesty," according to KPCC, but now both sides seem to have come to some sort of agreement about the next phase of work. Sort of: "They're not formally agreeing that they're agreements, but they are agreeing that we are making progress for the restoration proposal that we presented them with," the chair of the San Fernando Audobon Society, Kris Ohlenkamp, told the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, according to Encino Patch. But it's a little unclear just what those "agreements" might be, beyond both sides committing to working together.

According to Ohlenkamp, "the Sepulveda Basin is the nursery for the entire Los Angeles River, and many birds that nest in the basin but use the entire river." When the Army Corps cleared the area--ostensibly as part of a five-year plan to improve flood control and reduce the homeless population in the area--they did not notify any local groups, and seem to have gone far beyond the stated scope of their work.

And while Ohlenkamp now says that the Audobon Society's vision for the area is "evolving," the LA District Commander Colonel also struck a conciliatory note, saying "I want it to be valuable habitat for all of us, but I don't want it to be vegetation that's going to create a huge expense for us to maintain it."
· Army Corps, conservationists visit Sepulveda Basin as feds plan to restart work there [KPCC]
· SFV Audubon Rep Says Army Corps' 'Lies Have Stopped' About Sepulveda Basin Razing [Encino Patch]