Marina del Rey, CA
- For over 14 years, Iylene Weiss has been fighting to save the Ballona Lagoon, a narrow, mile-long wetland surrounded by ever encroaching residential development. But now, thanks to her unswerving determination, and the help of her army of volunteers and the California Coastal Commission, it looks as though the fight may finally be over.
Iylene Weiss, founder of the Ballona Lagoon Marine Preserve (BLMP),has been working to save this fragile ecosystem for fourteen years.
Its taken a long fight, partly because this wetland has seen such incredible abuse for so long. At one time it was even host to a vast oil refinery. In modern times it faces threats of development, pollution, erosion, apathy, and disregard. All of that is now changing though, thanks to Iylene Weiss. The California Coastal Commission recently granted the BLMP its long sought-after permit to begin restoration on this natural habitat.
"Restoration is not only desirable, it is vitally important to our whole ecology," says Steve Rabinaer, a BLMP board member, "the Ballona lagoon is the only remaining tidal wetland in Los Angeles County." Because of the daily tidal flow, the lagoon is host to a vast array of species including halibut, diamond turbo, anchovies, clams, shrimps, tern, pelicans, egrets, killdeer as well as dozens of salt-resistant plants.
As part of this innovative foundation, the BLMP invites schools to visit the lagoon, where children and adults can learn about life in the tidal pool. There are ten dedicated docents who volunteer to educate the public about the wetlands and their significance in the ecosystem.
To better protect the lagoon and to allow for easier public, the BLMP has secured nearly all the funds from the California Coastal Conservancy, California Prop A, and the City of Los Angeles to clean up the water, restore native vegetation, and turn the trampled, eroded South end of the lagoon...
"If you understand what a wetland means, and why its so important to us, to all of us, you understand that without it we wouldn't be here. We have to protect our nest."
If you would like more information about the BLMP or would like to make a donation to this non-profit foundation, please call (310) 306-5078 or have a look at BLMP's Web Site