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Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
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Natural Asset A few years ago, the L.A. City Council designated the former Chatsworth Reservoir as the “Chatsworth Nature Preserve/Reservoir.” On March 20, 1998, the council voted unanimously to have the DWP negotiate a 10-year lease with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for its management as a nature preserve. This would save the DWP an estimated $250,000 a year. Better yet, it provides the public with a facility that has great natural, archeological and educational worth. However, DWP Commission President Rick Caruso wants to “study” how much developing a portion of the reservoir property would yield for the DWP. The Audubon Society conducts annual end-of-the-year bird counts. Of the 209 species on this list, 47 are commonly seen all year at the reservoir, 28 are commonly seen seasonally, 47 are seen irregularly, and 44 are seen occasionally. Forty-two of the 47 commonly seen species actually breed there. Among the birds using the reservoir area are Canada geese, golden eagles, and five species of hawks. Among the mammals are deer, coyotes, skunks, bobcats, raccoons, foxes, possums, voles, wood rats, ground squirrels, rabbits and, rarely, mountain lions. Other creatures are rattle and gopher snakes, lizards, frogs, salamanders and more. Vegetation includes numerous valley oaks and other trees, riparian areas and grasslands. A calera (lime kiln), now California Landmark No. 911, was used by Native Americans to make lime for the San Fernando Mission. The Canada Goose Project brings junior and senior high school students from Los Angeles for significant study projects. This group also conducts morning and evening Canada Goose Counts from mid-October to mid-March. Although the facility is completely fenced, a well-worn road allows people to drive by its north and west borders , and nearby residents can view it from all sides and they highly prize what they see. If a portion of it is developed, the developer would have to pay for the utilities and roads within his development. However, expansion of the capacities for the delivery of water and electricity to the development, sewage and flood waters from it, and widening and repairing the main roads would be paid for by the general taxpayer. DORIAN KEYSER Tarzana

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