Subject: [Tweeters] New birding spot in Greater Los Angeles Area
Date: Jul 15 13:10:11 2009
From: David Flood - floodtax at

Visitors to the Los Angeles area have an easily accessible new spot to bird.

David Flood, Seattle

Restored Bixby Marshland to open in Carson

By Kate Mather Staff Writer

Posted: 07/14/2009

The din of cars whizzing by on the Harbor Freeway is a little quieter in one
area of Carson.

Tucked just off the 110 near the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and
Figueroa Street is the Bixby Marshland, a 17-acre habitat teeming with
chirping birds and native plants that is set to open to the public Thursday.

The area has recently been restored by the Sanitation Districts of Los
Angeles County.

Sanitation officials have spent nearly 15 years working to improve the area
- which is part of the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant, the districts'
largest wastewater treatment facility - after concerns were raised in 1995
that the construction of additional facilities would damage the existing

"We were making some changes at that plant and in an accompanying
environmental impact report one of the things that was recommended was the
idea of enhancing and rejuvenating the marshland," said Basil Hewitt, a
senior engineer in the public information office for the Sanitation

After realizing the existing marshland needed improvement because the water
- which comes from the Wilmington drain and is treated at the plant - was
not being evenly distributed, an outside company was hired to create a
design for the area, said Mary Jacobs, a civil engineer in the planning
section who has worked on the project since 2001.

Construction, including the redirection of the existing water and creation
of several pond areas, began after the bidding process ended in 2007. While
the construction was finished the following year, the $2.3 million marshland
was not yet complete.

"We gave the plants more than a year to establish themselves before having
our grand opening," Jacobs said. "Now things are pretty well established and
looking pretty green."

At Thursday's opening, Carson Mayor Jim Dear, along with officials from the
Sanitation Districts, will dedicate the marshland before tours are given
from 10 a.m. to noon.

Visitors will be able to walk pathways dotted with informational signs in
both English and Spanish that identify the native plants in the habitat and
can watch wildlife from many of the shaded observation areas. While tours
will only be scheduled for the first Saturday of every month, those hoping
to catch a glimpse of the marshland can arrange a tour with the Sanitation
Districts at any time.

"Mary is trying to develop educational programs with local schools," Hewitt
said. "That's one of the things we'd like to see down the road so kids can
come and learn about the different habitats."

Officials are also asking for volunteers to be trained as docents to lead

"A lot of it depends on how much interest we get from the community," Jacobs
said. "If we get interest and we get volunteers, we might adjust our
programs and open it more days."

The community, Hewitt said, is always one of the primary concerns for the
Sanitation Districts, especially at the Carson facility.

"We own 400 acres there and 200 of that we use for the treatment plant," he
said. "The rest is buffer property. We've been proactive in making sure the
buffer property enhances the community. The marshland is really consistent
with our belief that the buffer property should do something for the

Jacobs said she believes the property has been put to good use.

"Protecting the environment is important to the Sanitation Districts and
sharing the natural wonders of the marshland with the community is a goal of
the district. This became a bigger project than we envisioned at the
beginning because we wanted to do it right," she said. "I think we did a
very good job."

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