Ballona-Wetlands

Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve

Revitalizing Los Angeles’ largest degraded wetland, the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.

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Restoring the Reserve Through Scientific Monitoring and Community Hand-Restoration

A significant portion of the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve (Reserve)—once home to abundant fish and waterfowl—was filled in to build Ballona Creek in the 1930s and Marina del Rey in the 1950s and 60s.  Invasive plants, such as iceplant and other non-native vegetation not native to Southern California, have taken over much of the Reserve, crowding out native plants, using water, and altering soil chemistry harming native plants and animals. People used to come here to fish, hunt, swim, and hike, but the Reserve is now largely off-limits to the public.

Reversing this damage, by removing invasive plants and re-creating wetlands and connections to upland habitat, will improve the health of the ecosystem and increase biodiversity. These efforts would bring back native plants and attract fishes, frogs, birds, and other wildlife that rely on healthy wetlands as their home.  Rooted in years of scientific research and guided by community input, the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project would revive critical wetland habitat and offer a remarkable natural space for the public’s use and enjoyment.

The Bay Foundation (TBF) participates in the restoration planning process, supporting the two lead agencies for the project:  California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. TBF’s scientists and technical experts review documents and provide valuable information to guide the process.

Project Highlights

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Pre-Restoration Monitoring at the Reserve

Since 2009TBF’s wetland team has been actively engaged in pre-restoration monitoring at the Ballona Reserve. The monitoring program was developed to comprehensively survey the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics needed to inform the State’s restoration planning process at the Reserve, as well as to develop baseline information and data to assist long-term and regional monitoring efforts. Information and data collected as part of this program contributes directly to the restoration planning process. Detailed monitoring has been conducted on everything from water quality, to plants and birds.

History of the Wetlands

The Ballona Wetlands once encompassed an area of over 2,000 acres, stretching from Playa del Rey to Venice and inland to the Baldwin Hills. Today, less than 600 acres of open space remain, with much of that area highly impacted and degraded after centuries of development and abuse. This land is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Pre-Restoration Monitoring at the Reserve

Since 2009TBF’s wetland team has been actively engaged in pre-restoration monitoring at the Ballona Reserve. The monitoring program was developed to comprehensively survey the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics needed to inform the State’s restoration planning process at the Reserve, as well as to develop baseline information and data to assist long-term and regional monitoring efforts. Information and data collected as part of this program contributes directly to the restoration planning process. Detailed monitoring has been conducted on everything from water quality, to plants and birds.

History of the Wetlands

The Ballona Wetlands once encompassed an area of over 2,000 acres, stretching from Playa del Rey to Venice and inland to the Baldwin Hills. Today, less than 600 acres of open space remain, with much of that area highly impacted and degraded after centuries of development and abuse. This land is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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