The Bay Foundation and UCLA Lab School (ULS) have worked together with thousands of volunteers to help restore the ecosystem of the only remaining section of unburied creek on the UCLA campus and one of the last open streams in the area. Serving as a ‘living classroom’ for the school, huge progress has been made, but it is an ongoing process and always in need of volunteers. Even with extensive restoration efforts, the native vegetation is still in competition with invasive plants, which steal water and resources from the native plants.
Volunteers continue to eliminate this infestation of invasive vegetation, replant the area with native vegetation, and restore this important ecosystem. The newly established vegetation removes pollutants from the water to improve water quality and serves as habitat to birds and other wildlife on campus. Click here for more information and to volunteer!
Invasive Species Monitoring and Removal
Invasive species prey on native species, reduce water quality, cause problems with creek bed erosion, and can compete directly with native southern California species for resources and space. TBF helps monitor the spread of the invasive New Zealand mudsnails (NZMS) and control the spread of the invasive Louisiana red swamp crayfish.
Non-native Louisiana red swamp crayfish are harmful to the ecosystem of the Santa Monica Mountains. Native amphibians and fish are threatened by the propagation of this species, causing a disturbance to the ecosystem. To date, volunteers working with TBF and Mountains Restoration Trust have removed over 11,000 crayfish from Malibu Creek.
NZMS are tiny (3-5 mm), highly invasive, aquatic snails. A single snail is capable of producing a colony of 40 million progeny in the course of a single year by reproducing parthenogenetically, by cloning. The highly invasive NZMS was first reported in the Santa Monica Mountains in 2005. TBF is currently funding research to help determine the impacts of NZMS on benthic macro-invertebrates in northern Santa Monica Bay watersheds. Click HERE for the most recent mudsnail survey monitoring report.
Regional Wetland Monitoring
One of the key purposes of this program is to increase our regional understanding of the health of our coastal wetland systems, and apply that knowledge towards standardizing wetland monitoring across the state of California and towards providing helpful information to wetland restoration projects throughout Southern California. Programs such as these inform wetland restoration projects from the scale of the Ballona Reserve, down to the small, 3-6 acre lagoons in the northern portion of Santa Monica Bay. Site-intensive wetland monitoring provides important information on ecological function and process, can be diagnostic of restoration performance and regulatory compliance, and can provide detailed information to support rapid assessments.
TBF works with many partners to develop and implement this program, including the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Authority, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, California State University Channel Islands, California State University Long Beach, Tidal Influence, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Loyola Marymount University, and many more organizations and universities throughout Southern California and beyond.
For additional details about the program found in the California Estuarine Wetland Monitoring Manual, click HERE.
For a summary data report of coastal estuarine wetlands in the Central portion of the Southern California Bight, click HERE.
The northern portion of the Santa Monica Bay Watershed has many smaller sub-watersheds that end in small-scale bar-built estuaries, such as Topanga Lagoon, Trancas Lagoon, and Zuma Lagoon that have largely been filled in with sediment from development over time and suffer from impaired water quality. TBF is currently working with partner agencies to explore options to monitor and restore these estuaries to create a network of healthy wetlands throughout the Bay.