The Third Annual Moonlight on the Marsh party held by the Friends of Ballona Wetlands Saturday, July 23rd, gave us the opportunity to learn more about the restoration of the Ballona Wetlands and the freshwater marsh at the corner of Jefferson and Lincoln Boulevards, adjacent to Playa Vista.

Some 250 turned out, first for a tour of the freshwater marsh and later for dinner at the western end of the wetlands.

The Friends group used the occasion to honor Fresh Creek Technologies, Inc.; Dr. Edith Read; photographer Bill Beebe; and your Argonaut editor.

FRESH CREEK — Fresh Creek Technologies provides products and services to municipalities and industrial and wastewater industries that are designed to treat stormwater, urban runoff and overflows to remove gross waterborne pollutants such as trash and floatables.

The Cedar Grove, New Jersey-based company has been active locally in providing nets across Ballona Creek to catch debris before it flows into Santa Monica Bay and back around into Marina del Rey.

The firm’s Netting Trash Trap uses the passive energy of flowing water to contain trash and floatables in disposable mesh nets.

There is already one of the company’s trash nets in place for an outflow into Ballona Creek and the City of Los Angeles is purchasing three other netting systems from the company to help cleanse the upper reaches of the Ballona Creek watershed.

Installation of the Ballona Creek nets is scheduled for this fall, which Friends of the Ballona Wetlands officials say will make the creek cleaner as it passes through and impacts the wetlands, especially after heavy rains.

DR. EDITH READ — Another honoree, Dr. Edith Read, has been active in developing performance standards and designing the freshwater marsh at Jefferson and Lincoln Boulevards.

She first became involved in the Ballona Wetlands in 1993, and during the following ten years was employed by Psomas, an engineering and consulting firm headquartered in West Los Angeles.

During that period, she conducted numerous biological surveys of the wetlands, documenting vegetation communities and occurrence of rare plant species.

Based on this experience, she suspected that a rare plant species known as southern tarplant could occur at Ballona Wetlands, and did in 1995 discover a population in the portion of the wetlands known as Playa Vista Area C, north of Ballona Creek and east of Lincoln Boulevard, adjacent to Villa Marina.

In 2003, she accepted a position with the Center for Natural Lands Management as preserve manager of the Ballona Freshwater Marsh. The center is a non-profit organization that has become a pioneer in the emerging discipline of stewardship of natural open space and is dedicated to management of natural reserves throughout the state, Friends of Ballona Wetlands officials said.

As marsh preserve manager, she has the responsibilities of protecting the marsh, ensuring compliance with permits and achieving performance standards.

She supervises the removal of exotic non-native plants, fence maintenance, vegetation monitoring, coordination of water quality, monitoring of birds in the marsh, public education regarding the marsh and preparation of monitoring reports required by various agencies.

During her three years at the marsh, the marsh has been visited by more than 180 species of birds, 14 of which successfully nested and raised their young this year, already exceeding a five-year performance goal for diversity of breeding birds, the Friends group said in honoring Read.

BILL BEEBE — Friends of Ballona Wetlands honored local photographer Bill Beebe, saying “his wildlife photography at Ba-llona has recorded more of the life at the wetlands than any other photographer and he has been most generous in sharing these photos.

“Bill’s photographs have played an enormous role in raising public awareness of the value of the Ballona Wetlands.”