2014-10-30 / Letters

SSFL cleanup threatens pumas

The Acorn recently told the story of interested community members, led by Linda Parks and Fran Pavley, supporting an improved mountain lion crossing at the 101 Freeway in Agoura.

As a community member advocating for a rational cleanup of the nearby former Santa Susana Field Laboratory, I find it ironic that both Parks and Pavley support the unprecedented and needless stripping of huge volumes of mountain lion habitat and proven wildlife corridor from the former test site.

A recent map released by the National Park Service shows how critical the former SSFL site is to mountain lion movement through our area. I wonder if Parks and Pavely have seen it.

Using GPS, the Park Service monitors mountain lion movement throughout the Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountains so their travels can be mapped and ultimately better understood.

A map released last December shows the relatively narrow Simi Hills appear to naturally limit the movement of mountain lions between the Santa Susana Mountains to the north and the Santa Monica Mountains to the south. This narrow point is where the former SSFL is located.

Both Parks and Pavley have insisted portions of the former SSFL undergo an unprecedented and exceedingly harsh environmental cleanup that will strip an estimated 2.1 million cubic yards of habitat from the site.

Road building, digging, scraping, hauling and bulldozing millions of cubic yards of scenic area will take years, and when work is done, will the site look like habitat? Not likely. It will remind us of a barren and leveled area ready for a housing development or strip mall.

The Acorn quotes Fran Pavely as saying, “Let’s protect this land for generations to come.” Ironically, she also supports this unprecedented cleanup that seriously threatens the very thing she asks for: mountain lion habitat and their free movement.

My colleagues and I at the SSFL Community Advisory Group are advocating for a cleanup that balances the benefits of contaminant removal against habitat injury at this future parkland; the current cleanup requirement forbids balancing.

Let’s clean up SSFL for a future park, not strip mall.

Brian Sujata
Thousand Oaks

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