Life Finds a Way:  Native Species Get a Helping Hand from Restoration Efforts in the LAX Dunes

Standing amid the sand and brush on the north end of the LAX Dunes, it’s strange to think there once was a neighborhood here — and very hard to believe that a few decades ago this nature preserve was slated to become a golf resort.

The LAX Dunes stretch 302 acres between Vista Del Mar and Pershing Drive from the Playa del Rey bluffs to El Segundo, including the 203-acre El Segundo Blue Butterfly Preserve in the southern portion and a six-acre active restoration area at the northwestern tip.

…In this smaller space, five years of painstaking scientific work and grueling physical labor have facilitated the return of native fauna such as Blainville’s horned lizard (featured on this week’s cover), the snakelike California legless lizard and the burrowing owl — each listed by the California wildlife officials as a species of special concern — and native flora like the bright yellow beach evening primrose and light green beach bur.

…Revitalization of the butterfly preserve at the south end of the dunes began in the early 1990s, but the northern portion largely sat idle until LAX and The Bay Foundation kicked off restoration work in June 2013. This summer The Bay Foundation released a five-year scientific monitoring analysis detailing restoration activities and progress within the six-acre active restoration area…

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