Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority Celebrates 100-acre Transfer of Private Wetlands Into Public Trust

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The Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority (LCWA) invites the public to celebrate the largest transfer of private wetlands into public trust in the history of the region.  Located on the southwestern portion of the larger 175-acre Hellman Ranch in the City of Seal Beach, immediately north of Gum Grove Park and near the intersection of 1st Street and Pacific Coast Highway, this 100-acre parcel of wetlands came under public ownership in December 2010.  The celebration of its transfer to public trust will take place on August 10 at 11:00 AM at the wetlands on the north side of 1st Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

“I am proud the LCWA’s investments in the Los Cerritos Wetlands region are growing,” says LCWA Chair and Long Beach City Councilmember Gary DeLong.  “Today, we add 100 acres of wetlands to an existing 100-acre parcel that is already in the public trust.  I’d like to thank the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, State Coastal Conservancy, City of Long Beach and City of Seal Beach for their collaborative efforts as we begin this restoration process.”

For years, governmental agencies have attempted to acquire different portions of the Los Cerritos wetlands from private owners for preservation and restoration purposes.   The Hellman acquisition marks the largest transfer of private wetlands into public ownership to date.

“Seal Beach is thrilled to have facilitated the Hellman acquisition,  The acquisition was made possible by the City’s approval of the Hellman Specific Plan and the Heron Point project.” says Seal Beach Mayor Michael Levitt.  “We already have Gum Grove Nature Park, which is one of the hidden treasures of this region – to be able to attach 100 acres of the Hellman Ranch to the restoration process is truly a monumental step towards preserving our natural resources.”  Gum Grove Nature Park totals 15 acres and is comprised of hiking trails, eucalyptus groves and interpretive signage.

Working collaboratively with state and local governments, the City of Long Beach has also been successful in acquiring portions of the Los Cerritos Wetlands.  In November 2010, the City of Long Beach finalized a land swap agreement with a local developer to bring approximately 33-acres of wetlands south of 2nd Street and east of Shopkeeper road into public ownership.

“The City of Long Beach is committed to environmental stewardship,” says Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster.  “These wetlands have played an important role in the region’s history by filtering stormwater from throughout the San Gabriel watershed before it reaches our ocean.  We are excited to be a part of the LCWA and look forward to the Los Cerritos Wetlands restoration process.”

At a minimum, the LCWA’s conceptual restoration plan will include the recently acquired 100 acres of the Hellman Ranch, the City of Long Beach 33 acre parcel south of 2nd Street and east of Shopkeeper Road, and the 67 acre parcel owned by the LCWA and located adjacent to the Long Beach parcel.  Stakeholder input will be vital to the restoration process, which is designed to enable our community to safely and sustainably co-exist with natural resources at the Los Cerritos Wetlands.  For more information about the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority and restoration efforts, please visit http://lcwstewards.org/.

Currently, several non-profit organizations lead informational tours and debris clean-up efforts at the Los Cerritos Wetlands.  For more information about these events, please visit the Los Cerritos Stewards at http://lcwstewards.org/calendar.html, or El Dorado Audubon at http://eldoradoaudubon.org/.

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