The present-day wildlife reserve is a product of several phases of development. The first effort in 1979 established the 48-acre riparian area south of Burbank Blvd. between the dam and The Los Angeles River. Formal establishment of the 60-acre habitat north of Burbank Blvd. between the dam and Haskell Creek in 1988 involved grading for the wildlife lake and extensive plantings of native annuals, shrubs, and trees. Pathways were created for educational and enjoyment purposes. The lake became filled with reclaimed water from the nearby Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in 1992.
The latest and most extensive addition to the area is the 1998 expansion project funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers adding an educational staging area and amphitheatre, various pathway/signage/viewing area improvements, new pedestrian bridges over and a reconfiguration and revegetation of Haskell Creek, additional native plantings, and the formal inclusion of 60 additional acres west of Haskell Creek to Woodley Ave.
The resulting 225-acre Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve today is one of the finest refuges of its kind within a major urban area in the country. It serves not only as a restored natural habitat for wildlife but as a living laboratory for all to enjoy.