Falls may belong to public by spring

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy may be one step closer to buying a large portion of Escondido Falls property for public park land. Plans to apply for a grant administered by the Los Angeles County Public Works Department were fine tuned at the conservancy’s Nov. 16 meeting. “Basically our board members were concerned that we get enough buffer around the falls,” said Northern Division Chief Paul Edelman.

“The exact boundary is undetermined,” according to Edelman, who says that since the funding source is Proposition A money, the conservancy has to show linkage to Santa Monica Bay protection in order to qualify. The grant application seeks at least $300,000 to $350,000 to acquire 20 to 40 acres, which Edelman said, “serves Malibu and Santa Monica as well.” The conservancy already owns a large parcel of lower Escondido Canyon. The waterfall sits directly upstream.

Edelman pointed out that by bringing the waterfall and surrounding border into public ownership, development would be prevented directly along that part of Escondido Creek. “That will improve runoff quality into the [Santa Monica] Bay.”

The property sits on approximately 85 acres owned by Erin Murphy, who also attended the monthly conservancy meeting. Edelman said the deadline for grant application is Dec. 15. “I think our chances are pretty good because it’s not that expensive and should have a lot of appeal.” Edelman added, “It’s the best waterfall in the Santa Monica Mountains.”

The conservancy expects to know by spring whether the money is approved. If the answer is Yes, Malibu residents can look forward to knowing that an area already appreciated by those who stroll around the falls will be preserved for the future.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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