Opponents of a water museum on the Whittier Narrows nature area have filed an appeal to block the project, they announced Monday.

The museum would essentially tear out a beautiful area along the rivers (the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo diverge here) to install a building where you could appreciate … the beautiful area along the rivers.

Environmentalists have been incensed, and a statement summarizing the suit claims the planners of the San Gabriel River Discovery Center have failed to …

… Meet its legal obligations under the California Environmental Quality Act when it certified an inadequate final environmental impact report and approved a 5-to-11-acre complex of buildings, parking lot and other manmade features on the ecologically and historically important Whittier Narrows Natural Area, founded in 1939 by the Audubon Society.

Opponents say the project is short when it comes to money, anyway, with the California State Parks program denying a $7 million request for funding recently and a review of the its budget showing that it's $16 million short of the $22 million it needs to start building.

James Odling, president of the Friends of the Whittier Narrows Natural Area:

Our organization and members are grateful to State Parks for recognizing, as so many in the local community have, that the Discovery Center project would, in fact, take us backwards in our efforts to protect California's natural and cultural resources.

The appeal was filed with the the state's 2nd District court of appeals.

Read our feature on the battle over the Whittier Narrows project, titled “Pave to Save Whittier Narrows,” here.

LA Weekly