L.A. Workers Bulldozed Endangered Plants in Topanga to Ease Fire Danger, Prompting Outrage

The hills above Santa Ynez Canyon in Topanga State Park are seen on May 21, 2008. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

The hills above Santa Ynez Canyon in Topanga State Park are seen on May 21, 2008. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Crews for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power recently bulldozed hundreds of federally endangered plants in Topanga State Park, and both state and city authorities have launched investigations into DWP’s actions, part of a wildfire prevention project aimed at replacing wooden power poles with steel ones.

“In response to recent community concerns about protected plants in the construction area, the LADWP has halted construction and is working with biologists and other experts to conduct an investigation and assessment of the site,” Stephanie Spicer, a spokeswoman for the city water and power agency, said late Wednesday in response to inquiries from The Times.

In a separate incident this year, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works apparently encased federally threatened red-legged frogs in cement while making emergency repairs to a culvert in a portion of nearby Leo Carrillo State Park, which is vulnerable to heavy debris flows because of last year’s Woolsey fire.

Both events, not previously publicized by the agencies involved, have recharged debate over balancing wildfire safety and protecting fragile ecological resources following big blazes, including last year’s deadly Camp and Woolsey fires — and the Tubbs fire the year before that.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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