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LAX Dunes

Restoring the largest remaining representation of coastal dunes in southern California.

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At the West End of the Los Angeles International Airport, a Remarkable Ecological Success Story is Unfolding

The LAX Dunes (also known as the Los Angeles/El Segundo Dunes) lie between the west end of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the Pacific Ocean. They are the largest remaining representation of coastal dune community in Southern California. The 302-acre dune site is owned and managed by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and provides habitat for over 900 species, some of which cannot be found anywhere else on Earth, including the beautiful and delicate federally endangered El Segundo blue butterfly, and other rare plant, animal, and insect species.

The Bay Foundation (TBF) has been supporting LAWA in restoration efforts at the LAX Dunes, as well as coordinating monthly Friends of the LAX Dunes (FOLD) volunteer events. FOLD is a partnership of community organizations, corporate sponsors, and dedicated individuals working to promote LAWA’s LAX Adopt-a-Dune program. The LAX Adopt-a-Dune Program provides an opportunity for volunteers to help care for and learn about their natural environment.

Help is needed to remove invasive plants so native vegetation and animals can thrive. Please join us at upcoming volunteer events!

Project Highlights

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Creation of Friends of the LAX Dunes

In 2014, the Friends of the LAX Dunes (FOLD) was formed to expand the mission of LAX’s Adopt-A-Dune program. In cooperation with LAX Dunes Preserve management, Girl Scout and Marymount student Ayanna Neal supervised the restoration of a portion of the northern area of the LAX Dunes for her Girl Scout Gold Award. To assure the project would be long-lasting and sustainable, Ayanna recruited leaders who formed the board for FOLD. Since its inception, hundreds of FOLD volunteers have pulled thousands of pounds of invasive plants that choke and crowd out native plants.

Restoring Dunes to Recover Endangered Species

The LAX Dunes were set aside as a natural wildlife preserve to protect and promote the recovery of native plants and animals. Several of the species benefitting from this work are endangered, including the El Segundo blue butterfly and the California legless lizard. Restoration efforts will continue for years to prevent the reestablishment of invasive species and maintain a healthy native dune ecosystem.

The El Segundo Blue Butterfly

The El Segundo blue butterfly is endemic to coastal sand dunes of Los Angeles County. The El Segundo blue butterfly completes its entire life history, from larvae through adulthood, on mature coast buckwheat plants. Dunes used to encompass approximately 3,000 acres along the coast but were encroached on for urban development. The remaining dunes are being restored by The Bay Foundation (TBF) to help the recovery of the endangered El Segundo blue butterfly through removal of invasive and exotic vegetation, while actively promoting native plants including coast buckwheat.

Adopt-a-Dune Program

The LAX Adopt-a-Dune Program was created to provide an opportunity for organizations and their members to help care for and learn about their natural environment. Participation in LAX Adopt-a-Dune involved an organization’s commitment to organize three to four volunteer visits per year to receive training about coastal dune restoration, to help care for their adopted coastal dunes area by removing invasive plants, weeds, trash, and rubble, and to protect the sensitive resources in their adopted coastal dunes area from harm.

Creation of Friends of the LAX Dunes

In 2014, the Friends of the LAX Dunes (FOLD) was formed to expand the mission of LAX’s Adopt-A-Dune program. In cooperation with LAX Dunes Preserve management, Girl Scout and Marymount student Ayanna Neal supervised the restoration of a portion of the northern area of the LAX Dunes for her Girl Scout Gold Award. To assure the project would be long-lasting and sustainable, Ayanna recruited leaders who formed the board for FOLD. Since its inception, hundreds of FOLD volunteers have pulled thousands of pounds of invasive plants that choke and crowd out native plants.

Restoring Dunes to Recover Endangered Species

The LAX Dunes were set aside as a natural wildlife preserve to protect and promote the recovery of native plants and animals. Several of the species benefitting from this work are endangered, including the El Segundo blue butterfly and the California legless lizard. Restoration efforts will continue for years to prevent the reestablishment of invasive species and maintain a healthy native dune ecosystem.

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