On January 26, 2016 Muriel Kotin of our Conservation Committee received a “heads up” email from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACoE) that: “LA City Rec and Parks has requested a waiver from the Corps in order to hold a 3 day music festival in Sepulveda Basin on Oct 7, 8, 9 2016. They expect 65,000 people each day. The set up would take approx. 2 weeks prior in order to set up stages, sound systems, lighting etc. with 8 days post festival removal of equipment, clean-up and restoration.”
The USACoE email broadly identified the areas of the Basin where the festival events would take place, which includes acreage abutting or even including parts of our precious Wildlife Reserve. The email also gave an estimated time-frame (mid- to late February) as to when the details would be forthcoming and the public comment period would begin.
On the evening of March 3, in a focused, analytical meeting, with many voices heard, and using information provided by the festival proponents and USACoE as well as our detailed knowledge of the wildlife known to frequent the area, the Board of Directors of the SFVAS passed the following motion, for public dissemination:
“The San Fernando Valley Audubon Society (SFVAS) is opposed to holding the special event known as AngelFest in the entire eastern area of the Sepulveda Basin known as Woodley Park on October 7 – 9, 2016 and urges the Army Corps to not waive the conditions of the Special Events Policy and thereby not grant permission to hold the AngelFest event. The predictable negative impacts on the wildlife within Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve and the adjoining park areas that support foraging wildlife, as well as the loss of public access to the area for up to 26 days are intolerable.”
The very next day, March 4, we received the following official email notice from the USACoE:
“Due to the many comments the Corps reviewers provided to the AngelFest proponent’s contractor preparing the Environmental Assessment and issues to be addressed, the anticipated public review period is behind original schedule. At this time I think it will be mid to late April before it is available for review.”
The SFVAS Conservation Committee is laser-focused on preventing this potentially devastating event from occurring anywhere near the Wildlife Area. Among our concerns, beyond the obvious impact of 200,000 attendees on the wildlife of the area, are: the use of high-volume acoustic systems as preferred by rock bands, the inclusion of pyrotechnics at the event, broad and intense lighting, limiting of public access to various areas prior to, during and after the event, and many others.
Please follow the continuing AngelFest saga by watching for our reports on our website and Facebook pages. For additional information or (helpful) comments, please contact Dave Weeshoff, Conservation Chair, at dave.weeshoff@SFVaudubon.org