West Coast
Volunteers remove weeds form the Esplanade to make way for native plants. (Photo by Rachel Barnes)

CA - Community Comes Together To Restore Habitat In Redondo Beach

Volunteers, Los Angeles Conservation Corps and South Bay Parkland Conservancy are working toward bringing wildlife back to the Esplanade.

REDONDO BEACH, CA — Marine Biologist Ann Dalkey was walking along Esplanade in Redondo Beach in 2008 when she saw an invasive species of plant growing there and thought, "Well what if we put in native plants?"

Since then, a multi-year effort has been made to remove the invasive ice plant and other weeds and bring life to the Esplanade. Other organizations, such as the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and the South Bay Parkland Conservancy, brought more people to help plant, water and weed along the coast.

Saturday marked the first time that all of the organizations worked together, but they have all been separately dedicated to restoring the Esplanade Bluffs throughout the years. SBPC board member and project lead Jim Montgomery said it was awesome to be good relatives with the rest of the planet and was excited to be a part of a beautiful, budding community.

"What I'm so excited about right now is it's like this groundwork has been laid," Montgomery said. "In my vision eventually all two miles of the coast are going to be restored. That's the vision, I just close my eyes and I see, in the spring, a super bloom of native wildflowers."

What the groups are focusing on at the moment, is removing the ice plant, which originates from South Africa according to Dalkey and forms a large blanket of quick-growing greenery that chokes out native plants and alters the composition of the soil.

With the help of the US Fish and Wildlife Service funding the restoration with a $79,000 grant, the goal is to expand the Bluff Restoration Project and create a habitat for the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly. By planting native plants such as sea cliff buckwheat and other dune plants, other pollinators and lizards and birds will come to thrive in the area, according to Fish and Wildlife coastal program coordinator Carolyn Lieberman.

"If things aren't going well for listed species are potentially not going to go very well for us either or for other species," Lieberman said. "you're recreating an ecosystem, so that's better for all the other animals and plants and ultimately it is better for us as well. What's good for the butterflies is good for us."

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