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EcoTalk

Educating the Educators
April 30th, 2011
By: Jim Burton, PE

EcoKai Environmental, Inc. was given the opportunity to sponsor and participate with a group of high school educators from the greater Los Angeles area in a tour of the Ballona Wetlands’ fresh and salt water marsh in Playa del Rey, California. Hosting the tour, were Friends of Ballona Wetlands Executive Director, Lisa Fimiani, and Board Member, Dr. Edith Read.

The group initially met at the fresh water marsh and listened as Dr. Edith Read, who is also the fresh water marsh manager, provided the educators with information and highlights related to the design and development of the marsh. Although the area was once planned for commercial and residential development, the fresh water marsh was created as a compromise between the developer and local environmental concerns as mitigation to offset project impacts. Dr. Read was extremely knowledgeable about the history, development, ecology, and biodiversity of both flora and fauna. She provided visual images of the wetlands before oil exploration at the turn of the 19th century. By all accounts the marsh has been a tremendous success with much wildlife and native vegetation flourishing. The area surrounding the fresh water marsh has been a source of community involvement and continues to be popular with local residents.

Executive Director, Lisa Fimiani picked up the next portion of the tour with a brief introduction and history of the salt water marsh. Ms. Fimiani described the ongoing political, economic, and legal struggles facing the wetlands and how much has been accomplished during the last decade. She informed the group of how the Ballona estuaries shelter young fish from many predators and the rough open ocean. Organisms in the mud, silt, and plants help digest and break down heavy metals and toxins from urban runoff leading to a purification of the water leading into the Santa Monica Bay.

It is the objective of EcoKai Environmental and many of our EcoFriends to understand how ecosystems such as the Ballona Wetlands may potentially be affected by climate change and mitigation effects through the ability to sink carbon and adaptation effects through the ability to store and regulate water. Many scientists believe that it is these fragile ecosystems that may indicate the first significant signs of climatic change.


Salt water marsh in Ballona Wetlands and old rail bridge

EcoKai staff surrounds Dr. Steve LaDochy
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