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Enviros defend homeless birds, ignore homeless hookers

Adding insult to injury.

Some Los Angeles residents are angry with the federal government for clearing trees and brush from dozens of acres near a concrete riverbed and dam that they say left thousands of birds homeless.

Of no apparent concern was a contributing factor for the cleanup cited by the Army Corps of Engineers — to get rid of the camouflage that helped conceal a homeless camp frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers.

The chief reason for the removal and the primary concern of the corps was to rid the flood zone of dangerous debris.

But environmentalists lead by the Audubon Society complained loudly to the press that more than 40 acres of the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve nestled among ribbons of Los Angeles freeways were vandalized by the corps leaving nothing but bare earth.

‚??I am horrified and saddened that no thought was given to the needs of wildlife that lived here,‚?Ě Alan Pollackcq, an Audubon board member told the Los Angeles Daily News.

Adding insult to injury, environmentalists complained, tire tracks left by trucks performing the work also scared the dirt over which Canadian geese, white pelicans, egrets and herons used to soar.

And in spite of the corps assertion the brush and tree removal was necessary to prevent debris from causing further damage as eventual floods washed over the plain, the bird watchers and a Democratic member of Congress demanded that the work be suspended.

‚??Given the protests from the community and concerns with the extent of the vegetation management project, I strongly urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately cease all work on the project and to convene a meeting with community and environmental organizations and my office to¬† ‚?¶ ensure the plan properly balances the objectives of flood control, habitat restoration, passive recreational use and public safety,‚?Ě said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) in a Jan. 3 letter to the corps.

Col. Mark Toy, commander of the corps‚?? Los Angeles district, later held such a meeting with environmentalists and local politicians, and the project was suspended.

In the future, there will be no more removal of the floodway debris and makeshift hideaways for the homeless, prostitutes and drug addicts without the knowledge, approval and direct involvement and supervision of the local Audubon chapters.

‚??Under our direction, they will proceed with removing already downed trees and branches that could adversely impact dam flood gates in case of a significant flood,‚?Ě said a Feb. 6 memo from the meeting published by the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society.

So how will the government deal with the eventual repopulation by prostitutes, beggars and drug dealers?

That was mentioned as number four on the bird-watchers‚?? statement of significant concerns: ‚??There are numerous unsupported allegations with absolutely no supporting data provided. Some examples: no crime statistics presented (and) how many fires resulted from homeless encampments ‚?¶‚?Ě

The Sepulveda Dam was built in 1941 to control flooding from the Los Angeles River, following the destructive 1938 floods that killed 144 people. Numerous Movies, television shows, music videos and commercials have been filmed there, including Entourage, 24, Knight Rider and The Fast and the Furious.

Written By

Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Events‚?? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audrey‚??s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co