Annual Chatsworth Nature Preserve Earth Day Open House Hosts Crowd of Nearly 2,000 Angelenos
LOS ANGELES (April 3, 2017) — To provide the public with a rare opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Chatsworth Nature Preserve and Ecology Pond up close, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association hosted the Annual Chatsworth Nature Preserve Earth Day Open House on Sunday.
With nearly 2,000 community members present throughout the day, the event featured a number of highlights, including a special Chumash and Tataviam Native American Tribal Blessing performed by tribe member Alan Salazar, live animal exhibits, information booths from environmental and community groups, and two-mile guided walking tours around the Chatsworth Pond.
Because the property is closed to the public to preserve habitat on the site, the annual Open House provides a once a year opportunity for the public to view wildlife habitat, plants and trees around the Chatsworth Nature Preserve, which are especially vibrant this year thanks to recent rains after the persistent drought plaguing Southern California.
Tour guides provided the public with historical background of the area, as well as facts about the animal and plant life in the preserve. One species of oak tree located on the site is more than 100 years old and serves as the backbone of the Chatsworth Nature Preserve’s ecosystem. These mature oaks provide sapling oaks with moisture, nourishment and protection from the sun while also serving as critical habitat for birds, insects, plants and animals indigenous to the area. Along the hike, visitors were also treated to an animal footprint exhibit depicting the tracks of many of the animals that frequent the Chatsworth Ecology Pond.
LADWP Chief Operating Officer Marty Adams, who served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event, said “Chatsworth is the only nature preserve in the City of Los Angeles and the community places a high value on its success. That’s why LADWP works so hard to be good stewards of the property, to ensure that this unique and valuable space can continue to flourish for years to come.”
Speakers also included Chatsworth Nature Preserve Coalition Member Carla Bollinger and Santa Susana Mountain Park Association Vice President Tom Nachtrab.
“We’re grateful for LADWP’s support because events like this help people experience the beauty of the Chatsworth Nature Preserve and gain a greater understanding of the importance of preserving green spaces and wildlife habitat,” said Sharon Shingai, Event Organizer and Director-At-Large with the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association.
The LADWP-owned property originally served as the site of a reservoir put into service in 1919 and fed by the San Fernando Reservoir. Because the reservoir dam was built without mechanical compaction of the soil it was deemed seismically vulnerable and removed from service in 1972. In 1997 the Los Angeles City Council renamed the Chatsworth Reservoir as the Chatsworth Nature Preserve, effectively establishing the City’s first and only nature preserve to date.