Ballona Wetlands restoration project removes invasive plants

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — More than 34 tons of invasive ice plant has been removed from the Ballona Wetlands ecological reserve north of Los Angeles International Airport in the past five years, according to the Bay Foundation’s annual report.

The Ballona Wetlands restoration project is aimed at bringing native coastal wetlands and upland habitat to the reserve south of Marina del Rey and east of Playa del Rey.

The Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve once included 2,000 acres of marshes, mud flats, salt pans and sand dunes. The now 577-acre reserve was acquired by the state in 2003, and its ecosystem is considered an opportunity for major coastal habitat restoration in the county.

The restoration project includes installation of more than 1,400 native plants and seeding native vegetation. More than 25 native species were seeded or planted, and results show an increase in native vegetation cover overall, according to the environmental group.

The project, which relies on community volunteers as well as Bay Foundation staff and partners, has also removed hundreds of bags of other non-native invasive plant species, which require ongoing maintenance.

It is incredibly inspiring to see the benefits of this restoration project to native plants and wildlife,” Karina Johnston, the Gay Foundation’s science director, said in a statement. “After five years of dedicated work by … staff, partners, interns and volunteers, much of the site has been transformed from being impacted by invasive species, with very little habitat value, to one that supports wetland and dune plants, pollinators, and other wildlife.”

The project began on Sept. 1, 2016, and relies on volunteer and community support to remove non-native plants by hand.

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