Posts tagged Los Cerritos Wetlands

The Zedler Marsh at Los Cerritos Wetlands, at the border between Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Creative Commons photo by Cec4711.

The Zedler Marsh at Los Cerritos Wetlands, at the border between Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Creative Commons photo by Cec4711.


Landscapes in Transition:
Urban Nature as Centerpiece for Climate Resiliency

“We invite you to join us for a reception and special panel presentation to examine how Los Cerritos Wetlands and other regional landscapes fit into the imperative global discussion about climate resilience. We welcome our supporters, friends, and community allies to join us for this compelling event at the lovely, open air Garden Pavillion located at El Dorado Park Golf Course. Complimentary food will be provided from 5:00 – 5:45 and cocktails available for purchase. Panel discussion begins at 5:45. Space is limited and online registration is strongly recommended to reserve your seat. No cost of admission for local residents. Charting a path to meet 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, Californian cities are leading the way to a sustainable future. Throughout the greater Long Beach area, there are numerous urban-natural landscapes supporting strategies to stay on course to meet emission reductions goals and be more climate resilient. These projects include our own Los Cerritos Wetlands.”
When: Tuesday, September 6, 2016, 5pm-7:30pm
Where: El Dorado Golf Course Garden Pavilion, 2400 North Studebaker Road, Long Beach

Home Composting Workshop (Lopez Canyon): Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation
“Come learn to compost! Compost bin sales are held two Fridays and two Saturdays of each month from 9am to 12pm. At all events, we’ll have discounted compost bins ($20 each) for sale. TOPGRO soil amendment ($2 per bag) is available for sale only at the Lopez Canyon location. All sales are final. Free mulch is available at both locations as well—please bring your own container and shovel. Proof of City of Los Angeles residence is required for discounted sales. ”
When: Saturday, September 10, 2016, 10am-11am
Where: Lopez Canyon Environmental Education Center, 11950 Lopez Canyon Road, Los Angeles

Go Green and Save Green: CSUN Institute for Sustainability
“Learn how to save money while also saving electricity and water! Attend our FREE workshop to get information about the many rebates and free programs that are being offered to make homes more efficient, and learn simple measures that can be taken to reduce energy and water consumption. By increasing your energy efficiency and water conservation practices, you will not only save money on your electric, gas and water bills, but will also be leading a more sustainable life! All attendees will receive a low-flow shower head and faucet aerators! Refreshments will also be served.”
When: Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 12:30pm-1:30pm
Where: Oviatt Library, Room 16 Garden Level, California State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St, Los Angeles

Reception Honoring U.S. Transit Leaders
“On September 13th, WTS-LA presents a members-only program featuring some of the most important transit leaders in the nation. In a special evening reception to be held on the Doubletree Hotel’s rooftop garden, WTS-LA welcomes: Carolyn Flowers, Acting Administrator, Federal Transit Administration; Nuria Fernandez, General Manager/CEO, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority; Grace Crunican, General Manager, Bay Area Rapid Transit; Peter Rogoff, Chief Executive Officer, Sound Transit; Neil McFarlane, General Manager, TriMet.”
When: Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 4pm-6:30pm
Where: Double Tree by Hilton Hotel (Rooftop Garden), 120 South Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles (Little Tokyo)

Celebrating the Gamble House
“The Gamble House in Pasadena celebrates 50 years as a museum this year with a variety of activities, including a public celebration held at the Arts and Crafts masterpiece on Sept. 25. The historic home was designed by Charles and Henry Greene, for David and Mary Gamble, of the Procter & Gamble Co., in 1908, and is now a National Historic Landmark, owned by the city of Pasadena and run by USC.”
When: Sunday, September 25, 2016, 4pm
Where: Gamble House, 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena

Wetlands are nature’s resiliency plans, and according to the EPA the ecosystem services they provide are valued at billions of dollars. What if the 50 acre AES Redondo Beach Power Plant property currently up for sale was restored to a wetland?

Acting as natural mechanism for protection against pollution, flood and erosion, wetlands are workhorses when it comes to ecosystem services. They also provide biological diversity, fish, and wildlife habitat, while also recharging increasingly valuable groundwater. Importantly, they can also help buffer the effects of sea level rise. The City of Redondo Beach has been debating what to do with the closure of the natural gas-fired power plant for years and I believe the natural answer is to construct a wetland.

Kayakers at Los Cerritos Wetlands. Photo courtesy of Tidal Influence

Kayakers at Los Cerritos Wetlands. Photo courtesy of Tidal Influence

 

As Principal Restoration Ecologist and co-founder of Tidal Influence, Eric Zahn is helping to grow a constituency for the restoration and conservation of the fragmented coastal ecosystem of the San Gabriel River Estuary. Through research, monitoring, and public education, his company helps to protect and restore coastal ecosystems and one particularly fascinating species, the Pacific green sea turtle.

Jennifer Zell of AHBE Landscape Architects spoke with Eric recently about his scientific work monitoring the species and raising public awareness about the importance of conservation and restoration of their habitat.

Pacific Green Turtles have been sighted as far north as the southern coast of Alaska and as far south as Chile, with populations swimming as far as Japan and southern parts of Russia's Pacific coast.

Pacific Green Turtles have been sighted as far north as the southern coast of Alaska and as far south as Chile, with populations swimming as far as Japan and southern parts of Russia’s Pacific coast.

LB sea turtleShortly after moving to Long Beach, I was riding my bicycle along the San Gabriel River trail when I spotted what at first I thought was a piece of carpet. I then recognized it as some sort of mysterious sea creature moving gracefully through the brackish waters. It was a Pacific green sea turtle! How did you first learn about the sea turtles in the San Gabriel River?
Back in 2009 I was teaching a class at Cal State Long Beach and one of the student group projects was to create a monitoring plan for a special status species living in the Los Cerritos Wetlands. We contacted Dan Larson at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) because we learned he was following the population of sea turtles in the San Gabriel River. We organized a tour and he showed us where he goes to see the turtles, and that was my first experience [seeing the sea turtles]. That group of students wrote a citizen scientists monitoring plan, which was tested and refined by my students the next year, and is now the monitoring plan for these turtles that is currently being used by the Aquarium of the Pacific.

What brings the turtles to this particular location?
We know a lot about these turtles, like where they are and what their ages are, mostly juveniles. But why they are here is still a big [unanswered] question. The easy answer is that they are attracted to the warm water discharged from the AES power plant, and there is some connection to sea turtles that follow a pattern of warm water. However, it is likely that the remnant estuary has always provided refuge for this species. There is an extremely active population living in nearby Anaheim Bay, which is a much larger and protected natural estuary. The other day I was doing wildlife monitoring there and took a lunch break and sea turtles were popping their heads up all over the place.

People seem to love turtles, we anthropomorphize them like “Crush” in the movie Finding Nemo. What is it about the animal that is so compelling to humans?
They are mysterious. People can’t easily interact with them and seeing one is like seeing a mermaid. You have to go with them into their native habitat. At the San Gabriel River, people wait for long periods of time to see one pop up their head for a second. People can also see them at an aquarium, but it is a rare opportunity to see them with your two eyes [in the wild]. Because of the gaps in knowledge about their life history, scientists also see the species as mysterious. We call these gaps the “Lost Years”. Scientists don’t know where the turtles go to do their breeding. We know where the females go to nest, but we don’t know where the males and females go to mate—important information to know in order to protect their breeding grounds.

Do you think the turtles gives you an audience to teach about the local wetlands ecosystem that you would not otherwise have?
Yes, 100%. They are a charismatic megafauna that can be experienced right here in the Los Cerritos Wetlands and this is a conservation species that we have adopted. We give tours and get 100 people to come out. The tours are very popular and this enthusiasm enables us to show what we are doing to actively protect and preserve the species, like what properties are actively being acquired to increase habitat. It is critically important to restore the turtle’s natural habitat and people definitely get that message on our tours.

You are passionate about edge conditions between highly urbanized landscapes and remnant pieces of coastal ecosystem habitats along the urbanized coastal zone of Southern California versus somewhere distant, like the Galápagos Islands. How does your work with Tidal Influence feed your passion?
As a resident of Long Beach, I see the needs of humans as important. I also see myself as needing to speak for species that cannot speak for themselves. As a community member, I am not coming from the outside and telling the community, “This is how this should look,” or “This should go here.” But, from my position within the community I can say, “Here is where the two – humans and wildlife – can commingle and on these edges is where that happens.”

People can come to the wetlands and see a sea turtle or heron, and they get excited. Then we are able to teach about the ecological phenomenon that is happening further at the core of the habitat, and what needs to be conserved, and which sensitive core areas need to be protected. It is during these moments people become stewards.

Is there a message, or call to action that you train your employees to include in presentations, tours, and community events?
The call to action is for people to become more aware and to learn about the Los Cerritos Wetlands, and what is down the street from their home.  We have these pockets of habitats where species exist, and we want people to go out and learn how to help in the places where they live.

For years I have been trying to work up the courage to trespass and get on my standup paddle board to get an up-close look at the turtles. Do you want to go with me?
I would be happy if I never touch the river. I’ve seen the color the water turns after a rain; the San Gabriel River has become a glorified storm drain capturing pollutants from the entire watershed. The necessary BMPs have not be put in place upriver, and the rains bring trash and pollutants that you don’t see. I would love to go into the river after the upriver communities have taken the necessary steps to make the water clean and I know the sea turtles would appreciate the clean water as well.


To learn more, visit the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust and Tidal Influence. A special thanks to Eric Zahn for this interview.