Gates to an urban Eden
10 Images

The Chatsworth Nature Preserve

Gates to an urban Eden
Roger Jeka with the L.A. Department of Water and Power locks the gates to the Chatsworth Nature Preserve, site of a proposed wetlands mitigation plan. Environmental groups led by the Southwest Herpetologists Society and the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society are fighting Los Angeles’ proposal to transfer control of the preserve from the DWP to the Department of Recreation and Parks. They contend that such a move would adversely effect an unusually diverse collection of reptiles and amphibians in the area.
See full story (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
A plant in the preserve
Jarron Lucas with the Southwest Herpetologists Society checks out a chalk dudleya echeveria plant inside the 1,300-acre Chatsworth Nature Preserve. “You never know what you’re going to find out here,” he said. “There’s no place like it in the city. We can’t afford to lose it.”
See full story (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
A snake in the hand
Lucas holds an adult female red racer snake that was found underneath some weathered wood panels. The preserve in the northwestern San Fernando Valley is rich in wildlife.
See full story (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Walking the grounds
Lucas, center, of the herpetologists society, walks in the preserve with Mark Osokow, left, and Arthur Langton of the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society. Republic Services Inc. aims to establish 44 acres of riparian and wetland habitat within the property to mitigate the loss of similar habitat at its Sunshine Canyon Landfill near Sylmar.
See full story  (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Teeming with life
After a heavy spring rain, ponds in the preserve are black with toad tadpoles, which attract migrating shorebirds.
See full story (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Reptiles in the spillway
Jarron Lucas, right, shows Mark Osokow evidence of small reptiles in a drainage spillway at the preserve.
See full story (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
A place for amphibians
A Pacific tree frog at the preserve. The herpetological community is still talking about a Western spadefoot toad recently discovered in a marsh at the preserve. Spadefoot toads, which get their name from a distinctive hard, black projection on each hind foot, had not been seen in the area for more than a decade.
See full story (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Hiding places
Jarron Lucas with the Southwest Herpetologists Society lifts metal panels looking for small reptiles.
See full story (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Another scale model
The Western skink is among the lizards found at the preserve.
See full story (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Next door: development
Hilltop homes define the northern boundary of the Chatsworth Nature Preserve.
See full story (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
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