The Department of Water and Power confirmed Thursday that it is refilling the Ecology Pond following queries from both Patch and local conservationists.
"LADWP indeed has been filling the storm water detention basin located on the Chatsworth Reservoir Nature Preserve for a number of years, and continues to fill it to maintain a level for firefighting purposes," a spokesman told Patch in a statement.
Firefighters installed an emergency helispot and fireplugs in 2009 rather than draw water from the pond.
The pond, which was evaporating in Chatsworth's high summer heat, was filled again after Councilman Mitch Englander complained to the DWP two weeks ago.
“[The] Ecology Pond has been sinking lower and lower due to natural evaporation… This could have destroyed what was a beautiful and delicate ecosystem supporting numerous plant and animal species,” Englander said.
Before the DWP took action, several local conservationists contacted Patch to voice their concern.
, who has worked on the Canadian Goose project at the former reservoir, said on Facebook: "Well, the Ecology Pond on the north side of the Chatsworth Nature Preserve is dead. DWP isn't filling it anymore. The puddle that's left is choked with algae. If anything's still alive there they won't be for long.
"It's a tragedy. The whole place is dead or dying."
Luker told Patch, “I got to see the entire place for three years solid and I tell you it is remarkable. It was initially constructed so migratory water fowl had some place to spend the night as they make their way up and down the coast.”
Luker said that the DWP has changed terminology and is now referring to the Ecology Pond as a storm water detention basin. “They’ve been calling it an Ecology Pond from 1969 to today, clearly DWP has had change in attitude about the place,” Luker said.
“DWP has been consistently neglecting the operation of the place and they aren’t staying consistent with the nature preserve,” Luker said. “Their mission is to deliver water and power to the people of L.A., they’re not set up for a nature preserve, so as a result the culture of the company treats the place as if it’s an industrial site with these pesky oak trees on it. They’re just doing a whole bunch of stuff that is really contrary to the place being a habitat.”
Luker is an organizer of the volunteer docent program for the Santa Susana Susana Pass State Historic Park, a vice president of the Santa Susana Mountain Park Assn., a representative on the Toxic Substance Control Participation Group involved in the cleanup of Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Lab, a trained archaeological site steward, and a former Chatsworth citizen of the year.
In addition to the pond maintainance problems, Luker said he believes the DWP has not been preserving the site well.
“When an oak tree dies, its branches fall to the ground and it becomes fertilizer for new saplings and it also provides habitats for a lot of animals. But they’ve been systematically removing the oak logs from the property,” Luker said. “I think in the spirit of higher efficiency they have also lined in concrete or sterilized every single drainage, so there is no natural stream in the place at all.”
The Chatsworth Nature Preserve is , most recently on Earth Day in April.