Every third of May, we celebrate Endangered Species Day.
Led by the National Wildlife Federation, the day is used to share the importance of wildlife conservation and restoration efforts for all threatened species. It's a time to learn and celebrate the advancements made to protect wildlife since the Endangered Species Act of 1973. A place close to home where we can see the impacts on wildlife is the Los Angeles River. In the early 20th century, the LA River was home to and supported a diverse ecosystem. As the city grew, the river became more problematic and as a result of many devastating floods, a lot of the river's ecosystem suffered.
This article showcases LA River species that have become endangered:
In 2015, I successfully led the effort to get AB 530 signed by the Governor. This bill allowed for us to create a coalition of community partners to create an LA River Revitalization Plan, which has led to efforts to envision habitat revitalization. Habitat is an important part of the river and its function. Habitat provides food, shelter, and rest space for the birds, reptiles, and small mammals living in the LA River watershed.
One of the first projects to come out of this bill was Parque Dos Rios. Parque Dos Rios is a 7+ acre habitat enhancement and rest stop project located along the Lower LA River at the connection of the Rio Hondo and the City of South Gate. This project includes river and habitat overlook, shade structures, trash receptacles, raptor perches and much more. It's set to begin really soon! Read about the Parque Dos Rio project here: www.wca.ca.gov/parque_dos_rios.
I'm glad to see these efforts. Habitat restoration and the creation of new habitat in the river, parks, and even in our backyards can enhance biodiversity and be a home for plants and animals. All of which allows for our community to reap the benefits of these natural areas.
This Endangered Species Day, I hope that you take some time to learn about the species and ecosystems that live in or near our communities. Also take some time to go visit the LA River, a national or wildlife park or simply take a walk to see who you can find.