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LA County's Beaches Could Join National Rec Area

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The Santa Monica Bay and the Ballona Wetlands could be added to the existing Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

New legislation introduced by California Congressman Ted Lieu is aimed at adding a huge swath of LA County coastline to the existing Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the Daily Breeze reports. The new additions would include "the entire Santa Monica Bay coastline from Venice Beach in Los Angeles to Rat Beach in Torrance, as well as the Ballona Wetlands, Ballona Creek, Baldwin Hills and San Pedro," with the exception of the Port of Los Angeles, says Rep. Lieu's website.

If passed, the bill, HR 4871, would initiate a three-year study looking into the effects of adding the land to the national rec area. After the study is complete, the results will be released, and there will be public hearings to see if people support the inclusion of about 35 more miles of coastline in the national rec area, which extends over an area from Point Mugu to Runyon Canyon, says KPCC. A second piece of legislation would follow that incorporated the study's findings.

Roping these areas into a national recreation area would make more "scientific and infrastructure funds available" to those newly added areas, as well as help to pick up the slack created by "a shortage of resources to preserve open space for conservation and recreation in our community," Rep. Lieu's website states.

As the DB notes, resources at LA County's increasingly popular beaches are stretched thin. Attendance at LA County beaches rose 43.6 percent from 2007 to 2015 and lifeguard rescue numbers jumped almost 30 percent in the same time period.

Lieu says he expects one of the obstacles to adding this land to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is educating people on what a rec area is. "They are not national parks, they’re not national monuments, there’s no fees, there’s no mandates. It doesn’t affect private property," he tells KPCC.

Beyond that, though, it seems like, at this stage, there aren't a ton of specifics. "Several" regulatory agencies are still holding off on endorsing the bill until they get more details. A rep for LA County Beaches and Harbors tells the DB, "The county has not taken a position on (HR 4871) yet. We’ve been told that it would provide tools and resources without mandates and restrictions. But what they are, specifically, is not yet clear. It’s too early to say."