The environmental group Friends of Ballona Wetlands has received a $25,000 grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation to help the organization continue to grow.

Friends of Ballona members say the grant will allow the group to expand its technological resources, including upkeep of its Web site, board development and help increase its organizational infrastructure to ensure the stewardship and protection of the Ballona Wetlands, thereby enhancing continued growth of community education programs.

ìOur support of a grassroots organization like Friends of Ballona Wetlands is an important demonstration of the S. Mark Taper Foundationís commitment to environmental quality in Los Angeles,î said Raymond Reisler, foundation executive director.

Friends of Ballona executive director Otella Wruck said the organization is pleased that the Taper Foundation is helping to affirm its impact by providing funds.

ìThe foundation took a great deal of time to get to know our organization and understands the urgent need to restore native habitat to the Ballona Ecological Reserve because of its impact on both marine and land based wildlife, as well as interfacing with the Ballona Creek and the Santa Monica Bay,î Wruck said.

The Friends group was formed in 1978 to protect and defend the remaining wetlands that it says are crucial to hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife. The organization works in tandem with the California Coastal Conservancy and the state Department of Fish and Game, which has authority over the state-owned ecological reserve.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation, founded in 1989, is a private family foundation dedicated to enhancing the quality of peopleís lives by supporting nonprofit organizations and their work in the community.

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