Category: Ballona Wetlands

It’s a Ballona Superbloom!

But those giant yellow flowers are mustard plant, which isn’t good for the wetlands The upside of this winter’s record-setting rainfall was the end of a crippling five-year drought; the downside is all that water stimulated unprecedented growth of invasive plant species that threaten the balance of ecosystems in the Westside’s few remaining spaces set aside for nature. All along Culver Boulevard from Jefferson Boulevard to the 90 Freeway, the highlands of the Ballona Wetlands have come alive as a sea of tall yellow flowers as far as a driver’s eye can see, accented by tufts of crown daisies...

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A War against Weeds

Drought-busting storms were also a boon to invasive plant species in the Ballona Wetlands By Gary Walker The abundant winter rainfall that rescued Los Angeles from its historic five-year drought also helped resuscitate the bane of every gardener’s existence: weeds. And for the Ballona Wetlands, that spells trouble. The 640-acre state ecological reserve, no stranger to invasive species, is experiencing a proliferation of non-native plants that threatens to set back the progress of meticulous restoration efforts over the past three decades. “This is the downside of all the rain that we saw,” explains Patrick Tyrell, habitat restoration manager for...

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Ballona Restoration Delayed Again

Heal the Bay and other groups call for greater transparency and public accountability By Gary Walker Very few topics can unite the disparate landscape of Westside environmental advocacy organizations so often at odds with one another, but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has managed to find one that comes pretty close. The state wildlife agency announced last week that the long-awaited draft environmental analysis of Ballona Wetlands restoration plans will be delayed yet again, this time until mid-2017, sparking an avalanche of condemnation. The report is a necessary first step to begin restoration of the wetlands, and...

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Not the Kind of Buzz You Want to Hear

Playa Vista Freshwater Marsh harbored a ‘massive and unprecedented’ mosquito population this summer, but officials say it’s now under control By Gary Walker Playa Vista Freshwater Marsh, the 51.7-acre portion of the Ballona Wetlands southwest of Lincoln and Jefferson boulevards, has been credited with helping native birds stage a comeback in the area because of the habitat its stewards have created to attract them. But the marsh also became a breeding ground for tens of thousands of mosquitos this summer due to a lack of routine maintenance, according to public health reports obtained by The Argonaut. Mosquito counts at the marsh were the highest in recent history for anywhere in the Los Angeles County West Vector and Vector-Borne Disease Control District, which patrols West Los Angeles and parts of the South Bay and San Fernando Valley. Agency Executive Director Dr. Robert Saviskas described the mosquito breeding as “massive and unprecedented” in a July 20 letter of warning issued to the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy, a consortium of nonprofit and public agencies responsible for maintaining the marsh. “These are the highest [mosquito] counts ever recorded anywhere in the district over the last 50 years and have exposed the local residents and school children at Playa Vista Elementary School to an extremely high public health risk of contracting West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika and dengue fever,” states...

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More Money for Beaches and Wetlands

Congressman wants to make Ballona and the coastline eligible for National Park Service funding By Gary Walker The Ballona Wetlands, Ballona Creek and local beaches could become eligible for an infusion of federal funds under new legislation proposed by Rep. Ted Lieu (D- Torrance), who represents the area. Lieu’s bill calls for a congressional study to facilitate incorporating the wetlands and 35 miles of coastline — Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey, Venice and Santa Monica included — into the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. A hodgepodge of open space preserves and parks from Malibu to southeastern Ventura...

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