Controversial $14.5-million facelift replaced all vegetation in the 10-acre flood control lagoon

By Gary Walker

County workers were adding some finishing touches to Oxford Basin this week Photo by Joe Piasecki

County workers were adding some finishing touches to Oxford Basin this week
Photo by Joe Piasecki

After being stripped of 650 trees and all other vegetation in January 2015, the Oxford Basin Lagoon in Marina del Rey will debut next week as a public recreation destination and nature preserve.

The July 7 county rededication of the basin follows the planting of 750 native trees and more than 45,000 drought-tolerant plants, said Los Angeles County Public Works spokesman Kerjon Lee.

That includes more than 200 milkweed plants — a source of food for monarch butterflies — as well as a diverse palette of coast live oak, blue elderberry, cottonwood, laurel, lemonade berry, mulefat, sycamore, white alder and willow trees.

The new plantings look much smaller and sparser than the towering eucalyptus and dense assorted vegetation that previously populated the 10-acre site bordered by Admiralty Way, Washington Boulevard and Oxford Avenue.

But local leaders are optimistic the new Oxford Basin will grow into its new role as a showcase asset for Marina del Rey, including the upgraded bike and walking path around it.

“It’s been an eyesore for so long, but now it’s going to become another piece of the puzzle that makes Marina del Rey such a great place to live and visit,” Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors
Bureau Executive Director Janet Zaldua said.

Work on the basin also included the dredging of some 10,000 cubic yards of long-accumulated sediment and debris in order to improve the basin’s aging flood control and storm water capture apparatus.

Los Angeles County Super-visor Don Knabe, who has represented Marina del Rey for 20 years but will be termed out of office in December, will preside over the 10 a.m. dedication ceremony at the intersection of Washington and Oxford.

“I think the more that people learn what we’ve done out there, the more they are going to enjoy it,” he said.

Asked about the controversy sparked last year by the removal of trees, Knabe said he thinks the overall impact of the project — including long-term flood control and water quality improvements — outweigh
prior opposition.

“It’s good to be able to celebrate things that not only bring about improved public safety but also provide more recreational opportunities,” Knabe said.

County officials encourage those who plan to attend the dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. on July 7 to park in County Lot 7 at 4350 Admiralty Way.