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, culture, and biological diversity would be enhanced for the more than 17 million people who live in this metropolitan area, as well as for outside visitors.
The increased educational opportunities will serve to improve the community’s understanding of the unique Mediterranean climate and ecosystems of the area. In this diverse metropolitan area, many residents have a limited understanding of the local environment. Features that should be treasured are instead feared because they are little understood.
Another educational opportunity is understanding of water issues that are so important here. What are the water resources in our area of Mediterranean climate and its meager rainfall? How do our watercourses handle the sometimes torrential runoff from rain in our varied topography and flood control? Why are our rivers channelized and what is being done to “green” them? How do we handle wastewater? What are the special natural places along our waterways and in our flood control basins?
We thank you for the opportunity to provide comments and look forward to your continued, and expanding interest in improving the quality of life for us and our valued wildlife.
San Fernando Valley Audubon Society