An Open Letter to Colonel Gibbs of the US Army Corps of Engineers

May 1, 2016 in Conservation by

Col. Gibbs, It has come to my attention that Make Good Group has recently been soliciting their clients, friends, and supporters, from near and far, to send you letters regarding their conservation credentials.  Of course, that is their right and privilege. I’m sure you  surmise that many (most?) of those who write on their behalf might well have some financial interest in doing business with Make Good Group, or are already doing so. The San Fernando Valley Audubon Society, a 501c(3) organization, its Board, members, and  friends, have absolutely no financial interest in the outcome of AngelFest , even obliquely.  Our financial books are open for public inspection, as is true for any non-profit.  We survive on small individual donations and wise investments of occasional estate bequests.  We have no paid staff – we are all volunteers.  Thankfully we have no debt.  That has all been the case for 110 years. Our singular reason for opposing AngelFest can be simply summarized as:  “the wrong event at the wrong place.”  We are adamantly for the conservation and preservation of the last remaining wildlife reserve in this intensely urbanized area of the San Fernando Valley.  We wish to protect the place where
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Angelfest At a Tipping Point!

April 30, 2016 in Community, Conservation by

Angelfest 2017 is still not a “done deal,” but it’s getting closer! Many concerned citizens believe the cancellation of Angelfest 2016 means, “Problem Solved.” That mindset works in the festival promoters’ favor. They’re putting a full-court press on the Army Corps of Engineers to waive its policies concerning huge crowds in the Sepulveda Basin; policies against profit-making in the park, and policies limiting decibel levels, limiting hours of operation, and limiting proximity to the Wildlife Reserve — policies that have been worked out between the Corps and the community over many years.  This is happening right now, not next year. Now is the time for the community to put maximum energy into stopping Angelfest 2017 in Woodley Park, to demand that promoters and the Recreation and Parks Department find another venue for their event! The Army Corps could waive their own policies, allowing Angelfest to proceed, as soon as June of this year. At that point our battle becomes longer and harder. Please, if you haven’t signed San Fernando Valley Audubon Society’s online petition, do so now. If you haven’t written your elected representatives — all of them — please take the time to do so now. You can send the same email to each and
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Update on Drones in Woodley Park

April 29, 2016 in Conservation by

Thanks to the efforts of SFVAS, notably our Board Member (and Encino Neighborhood Council Treasurer) Patricia Bates, the City has finally posted permanent signage banning drones from Woodley Park. Enforcement has also increased, to the point that drone fliers have largely taken their toys elsewhere. Work continues toward the banishment of fighting kites in the park — while it may not be possible to ban kite flying per se, the strong and abrasive strings that are a danger to wildlife and humans alike are in the legal crosshairs. Stay tuned!

Angelfest 2016 Postponed — the Fight Will Continue

April 20, 2016 in Conservation by

Good news. Plans for Angelfest have been scrapped for October 2016. The marketing company that hoped to bring 65,000 people a day to the area surrounding the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve has announced plans to try again next year, but of course none of the environmental concerns will be any different then. We will not resist future mega-festivals that are located in appropriate venues — but we will continue to vigorously defend the Sepulveda Reserve and the verdant ecosystem that nurtures it. While the decision to cancel Angelfest 2016 was no doubt based on a number of considerations, there’s little doubt that the public outcry — that would be you — was an important one. If you signed & shared the petition, if you wrote or called your elected representatives, if you submitted comments to the Army Corps, if you urged your friends and neighbors to join the fight, we are enormously grateful to you. Please stay in touch with San Fernando Valley Audubon Society through our website (new one coming!) and Facebook. We’ll need you again. If you haven’t signed our Audubon petition, please do so. Numbers are still adding up, and they matter. We are dedicated to a better future
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March 10, 2016 in Community, Conservation by

First thing to know: This is not a “done deal”. Now is the time when our input counts the most! There are two reasons the LA Recreation and Parks Department negotiated with AngelFest promoters behind closed doors for well over two years: 1) Money. 2) You. They knew Angelfest would be seen as a completely inappropriate use of Woodley Park. Why? Because an event with five stages and up to 65,000 attendees a day is just that. So they waited as long as they possibly could to let the public see what they’d been up to. The cash-strapped Rec-and-Parks Dept. were told that for the promoters to give them a “cut of the gate,” Angelfest had to be held in a city park. Never mind that Live 8 (2005), the promoters’ claim to expertise in the field of large events, raised money for Africa and was held in Philadelphia, PA. Lesson? You can raise money for anyone, anywhere. Angelfest doesn’t need to be in Woodley Park, home to the only designated inland Wildlife Reserve in Los Angeles County. We need to show we’re not fooled! Two years ago Live Nation, the biggest mega-event company in the world, put down $500,000 to stage a festival in Grand Park, downtown.
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Drones In The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve — the Next Chapter and A Call to Action!

February 23, 2016 in Community, Conservation by

Saturday, 2/20, late afternoon a recently-hatched great horned owlet was found in bad shape at the base of the nesting tree. Unfortunately it did not survive. This tree is adjacent to where most drone flying in the Basin has been taking place. While emphasizing that we can’t prove there’s a connection, it must be noted that this is the first-ever nestling to fall from the nest since the big birds started breeding in this area several years ago, and that the most apparent difference between this and other years is the presence of drones.     This picture is what the dead owlet really looked like (pic on main page less shocking) and an idea of how tiny it was. Whether the mother was spooked by a drone and as a result the hatchling was knocked out of the nest or not, we should still treat this small tragedy as a warning about the sorts of things that drones and fighting kites are capable of. We should resolve that permanent signage and enforcement be put in place before — not after — there is a similar fatality that undeniably involves one of these activities so inappropriate to a wildlife reserve.
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You Can Help! Drones and Fighting Kites A Danger To People and Wildlife in the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area

February 5, 2016 in Conservation by

There are two very serious and pervasive problems occurring in the Sepulveda Basin Woodley Park and Wildlife Areas with illegal ‘drone’ (Unmanned Aircraft System) activity, and kite ‘fighting’, using abrasive kite line (cord). The kite line is extremely dangerous to persons, wildlife and property, not only when the fighting kites are aloft, but when enthusiasts leave behind lost strings they can’t or won’t retrieve. We have already collected huge amounts of kite line from trees in the area. Fighting-kite line is very dangerous to humans. Kite fighting (attempting to sever an opponent’s kite line using your own), is now considered a high risk activity worldwide. Penetrating neck injuries from the string are described in medical journals. The city of Toronto, Canada has banned kite fighting due to severe neck injuries (sometimes lethal) incurred by motorcyclists. It has also been banned in regions of Pakistan for the same reason. There are also many reports of deaths of motorcyclists encountering the high-test, abrasive string. Fighting-kite line is also very dangerous to wildlife, especially birds. Reports on the carnage in India resulting from kite-fighting festivals are abundant. The Indian government has banned kite fighting at certain times to try to mitigate this problem. Wildlife
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Re: NASA Draft EIS

August 2, 2013 in Conservation, SFV Bird Observatory by Bird Bander

     It is important to remember that SFVAS sent a letter to the NASA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) months ago concerning the egregiously excessive clean-up standard NASA agreed to with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.  The OIG concluded that the clean-up provisions in the agreement, entitled the “Administrative Order on Consent” (AOC) were unreasonable.  However, NASA management blithely ignored the OIG’s conclusions in preparing the current DEIS.  The AOC is the underlying justification for this environmentally damaging process, which will result in the trucking of approximately one half million cubic yards of soil, including irreplaceable topsoil, to landfills across the country.  In following this process, NASA is ignoring less environmentally damaging alternatives, including actual risk-based alternatives.

Rim of the Valley Trail – NPS

January 7, 2013 in Conservation by Kris Ohlenkamp

To all whom it may concern: The San Fernando Valley Audubon Society, and its 1800+ members, support an expanded Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to include a combination of Alternatives C and D. The SMMNRA should be expanded to include the Rim of the Valley Corridor, in addition to protecting the wildlife corridors between the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Susana Mountains, Los Padres National Forest and Santa Clara River Corridor. Inclusion of the Rim of the Valley and completing trail work linking the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo Valleys would increase public access to parkland and cultural sites, protect wildlife corridors, and improve management of the Rim of the Valley Trail. Inclusion of the significant natural areas within the valleys; including Sepulveda Basin, Hansen Dam Basin, and the rivers, will serve to spread appreciation and enjoyment of these special areas, as will inclusion of especially significant historical and cultural sites. This then would hopefully lead to improved management of these areas by the local agencies that presently own or manage them. The expansion would provide major recreational and educational enhancements. Access to open spaces, and opportunities to learn about the Los Angeles area’s rich history,
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by Jim

State Senators show their support for Sepulveda Basin’s wildlife

January 4, 2013 in Conservation by Jim

Two state Senators have sent letters to the US Army Corps of Engineers demanding an explanation for the Sepulveda Basin destruction: From The Honorable Fran Pavley, State Senator, 27th District From the Honorable Kevin de León, State Senator, 22nd District    You can read more about their support at the LA Times article Legislators want Army Corps to explain habitat removal decision. Read more about the ongoing situation at our page Stop the Devastation of Sepulveda Basin.