Puvunga Wetlands Protectors

The Los Cerritos Wetlands are at risk due to fossil fuel extraction, flawed restoration projects, and a failure to respect tribal stewardship. We are here to protect and preserve this Traditional Tribal Prevent the extraction of 200 million barrels of oil from beneath the Los Cerritos Wetlands! Preserve the Traditional Tribal Landscape and Sacred Site of Puvunga. Landscape and Sacred Site.

Who we are...

Puvunga Wetlands Protectors is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, formed to defend the Puvungna/Los Cerritos Wetlands from expanding oil and gas operations and to preserve the wetlands ecosystem and tribal sites from destruction. We take direction from Tongva and Acjachemen culture keepers working to preserve sacred sites and ensure the survival of all our relations.

What we fight for...

Preservation of local land, waters, and wildlife
Protection of a Tribal Cultural Landscape
An end to Los Cerritos Wetlands Oil Drilling
The Los Cerritos Wetlands

Conserving the lands and waters on which life depends

Tongva and Acjachemen tribal nations, environmentalists, and community members have struggled for decades to protect and preserve the Los Cerritos Wetlands, now under assault from Beach Oil Minerals and the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority. 2400 acres of lagoons, tidal salt marshes, and alkali meadows once formed a coastal wetlands supporting the Tongva communities of Puvunga and Motuucheyngna. In the past 250 years, ranching, agriculture, flood control, oil drilling, industrial, commercial, and residential development have erased all but 500 acres. Although degraded, the remaining Los Cerritos Wetlands support plants, wildlife, marine life, and local and migratory birds, and continue to be central to the physical and spiritual well being of tribal members.
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Stewards of the Land

Puvunga/Puvuu'nga and Motuucheynga, Sacred Then and Now

For 10,000 years a ​vast wetlands sustained the coastal communities of ​Puvunga and Motuucheynga​, central to the spiritual traditions of the Tongva, Acjachemen, and numerous other Southern California Tribes. ​The remaining 500 acre Los Cerritos Wetlands allow a connection to homelands, ancestors and culture. ​Drilling, digging, bulldozing and building on these wetlands is opposed by tribal culture keepers and violates​ tribal beliefs which understand all life to be related and deserving of respect. Relocating tribal burials and preserving tribal “artifacts” for research or exhibition will not “mitigate” this destruction. ​The connection of tribal peoples to Puvunga cannot be determined piecemeal, as it is timeless and inclusive of all manifestations of being. This relationship to place defines tribes as peoples who seek to live in balance through the gifts given by all relations.
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We’re saying that the Los Cerritos Wetlands constitutes a Tribal Cultural Property. Puvunga was a community, a spiritual gathering place for many tribes, birthplace of Chengiichngich, law giver and god.

— Chief Anthony Morales
Chair, Gabrieleno/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians
Drilling is Killing

What began with a lawsuit to stop the Los Cerritos Wetlands Restoration and Oil Consolidation Project, continues to this day

In December, 2018, the ​California Coastal Commission​ approved the ​Los Cerritos Wetlands Restoration and Oil Consolidation Project, ​a massive expansion of oil drilling masquerading as wetlands restoration.​ ​Acknowledging that ​the project violated Coastal Act provisions protecting​ public health, the environment, and tribal culture, the Commission used an override provision giving special treatment to oil and gas development along the shoreline. In February, 2019, ​Puvunga Wetlands Protectors​ sued the Commission for misapplying the override because adverse impacts were not mitigated to the maximum extent feasible and because the public would not be harmed if the project was denied. The Los Cerritos Wetlands Restoration and Oil Consolidation Project ​will put the community at greater risk for oil spills and a “worst case scenario” seismic event, pollute local air and water, add to global warming, and erase tribal history.
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oil rig

By taking action you can make a difference!

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Fund PWP’s investigative and legal actions to protect the Los Cerritos Wetlands, and support our community outreach and educational events.

Support Puvunga Wetlands Protectors’ Lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission. Dollar for dollar matching fund in progress!

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Actions and Events

Collaborative, community actions to benefit the Los Cerritos Wetlands including rallys, music and spoken word performances, and outreach campaigns.

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Educate Yourself and Others

Learn why we need to protect the Los Cerritos Wetlands and the true cost of fossil fuel extraction, global warming, and sea rise. Connect with indigenous peoples’ perspectives, histories, and struggles.

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Connect with Allies

Find allies that protect wetlands, empower tribal peoples and stop the fossil fuel industry from destroying our health, our communities, and Mother Earth.