Friends of Colorado Lagoon
FOCL POINTS Friends of Colorado Lagoon is a coalition of concerned citizens working to preserve and restore Colorado Lagoon
Friends of Colorado Lagoon’s FOCL Points Newsletter No. 18
Moon Jellies Photo by Tidal Influence
President’s Letter by Dr. Christine Whitcraft, FOCL Vice President Summer is almost upon us, and once again, the Colorado Lagoon is the best place to be! From swimming and picnicking to helping at restoration events or attending a guided bird walk, the Lagoon offers many ways to enjoy the outdoors in your own back yard. For many years, FOCL has been dedicated to improving the water quality to ensure that visitors to the lagoon can enjoy clean water. Runoff no longer enters the Lagoon through storm drains; instead it is being treated through the sewer system. And just last year, dredging of over 83,000 cubic yards of contaminated marine sediment was removed from the Lagoon. As a result, Heal the Bay removed the Colorado Lagoon from the impaired water body list and now the Lagoon consistently earns A’s for water quality. Restoration on the Western Arm brought many colorful flowering native plants to the Lagoon. Summer fun at the Lagoon is now much cleaner and more scenic! Come down to the Lagoon to see the exciting changes yourself. Explore the many wonders of the Colorado Lagoon through FOCL’s public programming lead by Tidal Influence naturalists and interns. Get up close to marine critters during the Summer Science Shack at the WAMSEC (Wetland and Marine Science Education Center). TI will be hosting a range of events at the lagoon from Saturday Estuary Explorations to Monday Work Days (see events list on the last page and flier on our webpage). For a more intimate experience, join Harriet Bennish, birding enthusiast, for her 50 and Over Bird Walks. Summer migrants like terns, hummingbirds and waterfowl are sure to be seen. In addition, the Lagoon is located near many other fun Long Beach activities like the Wednesday Farmers’ Market and Concerts in the Park near Marine Stadium. So stop by when you’re in the neighborhood and enjoy the peaceful shoreline or get active and join us for some fun. Page 1
Lagoon Provides Refuge for Marine Organisms
Look at what FOCL interns found! The lagoon provides an amazing opportunity to get a close look at the diversity of marine life that lives below the water’s surface. Hundreds of species of fishes (like the diamond turbot pictured above) and inverts such as crabs, jellyfish, and mollusks need the lagoon to successfully reproduce. After all, wetlands and lagoons provide about 70% of the world’s marine life. It is our duty to steward this precious resource and strive to restore its natural health. FOCL’s vision is to reintroduce full tidal influence into the lagoon by removing the 1000foot culvert transporting water from Alamitos Bay to allow these populations will thrive.
All photos by Tidal Influence
Colorado Lagoon Is Here For Your Group
Let the lagoon set the stage for your company or organization’s bonding experience. Feel good about giving back to the environment and your community while having fun. Most recently, Wells Fargo employees helped plant and water native shrubs in the Western Arm. Their volunteer work paired with a generous grant will support FOCL’s programs so that many more will have this rewarding experience.
A Tale of Two Perspectives
by Eric Zahn, M.S. FOCL’s Restoration Director There are many ways to look at FOCL’s effort to revegetate and restore habitat back to the Colorado Lagoon’s western arm. Here we will explore two perspectives. You can analyze the situation like a good scientist and focus on the quantitative facts, or you can rationalize it like philosopher and qualitatively explain the project. The scientist would say, “Four acres of non-native turf and sand was replaced with coastal sage scrub, coastal strand and coastal salt marsh plant communities composed of over 100 species of shrubs, herbs, vines, and succulents. This biodiversity will create a complex urban habitat that will increase primary productivity and form the basis for the development of a complex ecosystem that continues to dwindle along the southern California coastline.” The philosopher would say, “The grass would never have restored itself into coastal sage scrub habitat. Being passive was not an option in this transformation; it took action. The amount of human energy invested into this project will have long lasting impacts to our earth and the way we perceive natural habitats in urbanized areas.” A scientist would say, “The threat of 5-feet of sea level rise over the next 100 years makes it critical to install buffer habitats and transition zones along the coast to allow for wetlands species to migrate in elevation with time. This project has created over 2000 square feet of salt marsh-upland transition zone composed of 3 special status plant species Juncus acutus leopoldi, Suaeda taxifolia and Lycium californicum. “ The philosopher would say, “The ability for humans to recognize global trends and alter our landscape accordingly is a powerful gift. We must take advantage of each opportunity in order to prepare. Coupling this with enhancing the populations of species (like spiny rush, wooly sea-blite, and California boxthorn) that without our help could one day disappear, showcases proper planning.” A scientist would say, “Since September 2012, a total of 11,941 plants were installed during 65 public restoration events attended by 884 volunteers who worked 1814 hours that total $44,896.50 worth of in-kind services.” A philosopher would say, “Nice work everybody. This is something that makes our society appear conscious. This project would not be the same if it was not community-based.” No matter how you see it, the work is not done. This project still has 1 more year worth of effort ahead of it. This summer FOCL’s programs will be watering, weeding and caring for all the areas that were restored this past planting season. Planting programs will start again in the late fall near the Lagoon’s bioswale, and continue through the winter. This time next year FOCL’s programs will be focused on making the finishing touches on the perimeter trail and installing interpretive elements throughout the project area.
Volunteer Spotlight FOCL’a partnership with Millikan High School's G.R.E.E.N Academy has brought out over one hundred high school students to our Saturday events. The G.R.E.E.N (Generating Respect for the Earth, the Environment, and Nature) Academy's vision is to make every student a knowledgeable, experienced, and motivated environmental steward. Read more here: http://www.lbmillikan.schoolloop.com/Green
Photo by Tidal Influence Page 3
Friends of Colorado Lagoon 6475 East PCH #252 Long Beach, CA 90803 (562) 261-9058 www.coloradolagoon.org
FOCL POINTS is published three times a year by Friends of Colorado Lagoon
Contributors Jade Dean Whitney Graves Adrienne Mohan Christine Whitcraft Eric Zahn
Upcoming Activities Estuary Exploration Second Saturdays from 8am-10am June 8th - July 13th - August 10th - September 14th
Bird Walk for Over 50 Crowd Every Last Sunday from 8:30am-10:30am June 29th - July 27th - August 31st
Join FOCL Educators on a walk around the Lagoon and gain a better understanding of our local wetland ecosystem.
Join FOCL volunteer Harriet Bennish as she leads a bird walk to spot feathered friends around the Lagoon. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Monthly Habitat Restorations Second Saturdays from 10am-12pm June 8th - July 13th - August 10th - September 14th Join FOCL’s restoration team to help maintain and restore the Colorado Lagoon!
Salt Marsh Mondays Mondays from 10am-12pm Help FOCL naturalists restore the Lagoon’s salt marsh habitat and keep the ecosystem clean and healthy.
Summer Science Shack Open every Saturday beginning June 15th through August 31st from 1pm-4pm Come hang out with our science interns and explore neat lagoon critters. Special thanks to our partners in restoration!
Coastal Cleanup Day September 21st from 9am-12pm Come participate in California’s largest volunteer event of the year. We will be protecting our newly restored habitat by removing harmful trash and debris.