Project Overview

California’s coastal wetlands support a wealth of precious wildlife habitat and play a crucial role in improving coastal water quality and reducing the harmful effects of floods and erosion on surrounding communities. Today, more than 95 percent of Southern California’s wetlands have been lost due to human development – the largest loss of any state in the nation.

Rooted in years of scientific research and guided by community input, the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project would revive critical wetland habitat and offer a remarkable natural space for the public’s use and enjoyment. One of the most promising coastal wetland restoration opportunities in Southern California, the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project would return this highly degraded habitat into a thriving wildlife reserve and unique community asset.

The Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve is owned by the state of California and managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The California Coastal Conservancy, The Bay Foundation, and California State Lands Commission are participating partners in the planning and restoration at the reserve.
In 2004, the State Coastal Conservancy approved state bond funds to support the planning and restoration at the reserve. The Ballona Wetlands is the largest and best opportunity to restore estuarine habitat in Los Angeles County. Repairing decades of damage at the reserve could provide crucial habitat for threatened and endangered species, as well as opportunities for the public to visit and enjoy this natural treasure.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife owns the land and is responsible for any changes to it. The Project Management Team works together to plan and design the restoration project. The Project Management Team includes the State Coastal Conservancy, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Lands Commission, and The Bay Foundation. The team is committed to a transparent, science-based planning process. The Project Management Team has obtained input from the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Working Group, the Ballona Wetlands Science Advisory Committee, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission Technical Advisory Committee, and the Agency Advisory Committee.
Before any restoration activities can begin, the project management team must complete CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) requirements—which includes a public comment period—and obtain permits from various public entities including the Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the California Coastal Commission. The CEQA/NEPA work and the permitting process are underway.

Project Timeline

August 2012
Initial Notice of Intent/Notice of Preparation

August 16, 2012
Scoping Meeting

August – October 2012
Scoping Comment Period

January 2013
Revised Notice of Preparation (for a Visitor Education Center, which since has been withdrawn from the Project)

January – March 2013
Second Scoping Comment Period (for the now withdrawn Visitor Education Center)

Spring 2013 – Winter 2015
Prepare Administrative Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report (EIS/EIR)

Spring 2015 – Mid-2017
Internal Agency Review & Revision of Administrative Draft EIS/EIR

Release Draft EIS/EIR for Public Review

After DEIR/EIS Release 
Public Comment Period, including Public Comment Meeting on the Draft EIS/EIR (specific date TBD)

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Update (10-3-2016)

In August 2013, the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project initiated the process to obtain a 408 permit by providing the United States Army Corps of Engineers with “Submittal A”. Please click here for an explanation of the process and purpose of the 408 Submittal A.

For a complete download of the Submittal A documents please click here.