Enviro groups flock to Farmer’s Market


The Wetlands Action Network circulated a petition at the market to curtail development in the historical Malibu Creek flood plain, Point Dume coastal prairie and Trancas lagoon /prairie areas.

Environmental groups, some with coffers filled from recently released state bond money, were out in full force at the Malibu Farmers’ Market on Sunday with booths set up to share ecology information with visitors.

The Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy had Mark Konopaske sharing information about its goal of acquiring land from developers for open space and parks (raising funds separately from the $15 million open-land/parks bond measure going before voters in November).

However, Ozzie Silna, MCLC vice president, was quick to point out that the conservancy was not totally opposed to development.

“I would like to see, besides the hotel, at least another 250,000 square feet of development in the City Hall area,” he said. “We are not a no-growth organization.”

Fundraisers for Las Flores Creek Park are attempting to raise donations from the Malibu community to complement the $550,000 funding from Proposition 13 for creek restoration, according to volunteer Margaret Smith-Waljeski. The donations would be used for park amenities such as picnic benches, a butterfly garden, play areas and a footbridge to cross over the creek from parking on Rambla Pacifico.

“You would be able to walk along the creek–there’s so few places where you can do that now,” she said. Volunteers were busy distributing maps of the proposed creek restoration.

Wetlands Action Network had a petition to sign for saving several endangered or threatened species of birds, including white-tailed kites, red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, great blue herons, egrets and red-shouldered hawks, by curtailing development in the historical Malibu Creek flood plain, Point Dume coastal prairie and Trancas lagoon/prairie areas.

“Birds have to have more than their nesting site,” said Marcia Hanscom, who was working the booth. “They need foraging sites.”

The Mountains Restoration Trust, which received $189,000 from Prop. 12 funds, wants to remove 216 patches of non-native bamboo called arundo that clogs creeks, thereby restoring 105 acres of creek areas.

In side-by-side displays, Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica BayKeeper organizers talked to market-goers about restoring Ballona Creek, water testing and environmental issues surrounding Ahmanson Ranch. The organizations also have what Kimberly Oliver, working the Baykeeper’s booth, calls “an interactive program” to restore kelp forests along the coast, where grade-schoolers grow kelp at their schools that will be used for replanting.

A call to California Coastal Cleanup Day by both organizations urged people to participate in the trashy event, which takes place on Sept. 15, 9 a.m. – noon. Team leaders will hand out cleanup supplies to volunteers for trash removal on beaches from San Clemente to Zuma.

State Parks interpreter Kristen Perry greeted interested onlookers at the California State Parks display. She said she takes facts about the environment and “weaves them into interesting stories” so everyone can understand environmental issues. “I want to make sure everyone knows about the parks and that they’re welcome to visit them,” she said. Through State Parks, Perry also organizes hikes, campfire programs and outreach programs for inner city children.

The Surfrider Foundation, dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the beaches, was circulating a brochure called “20 Ways to Cleaner Oceans and Beaches.”

Earthwatch, a volunteer organization that sends teams of assistants all over the world to help researchers in the field, was signing up people for their newsletter and advertising their expeditions.

And lastly, the City of Malibu had the unglamorous but