‘Re-wilding’ a Santa Monica Beach to Protect Against Sea Level Rise

At the north end of Santa Monica Beach, there’s a fenced off 2-acre section that looks a bit unkempt. It’s an experiment in “re-wilding,” or restoring the beach to what it looked like before humans altered it. The pilot project, a partnership of The Bay Foundation and Santa Monica, could also help protect the city from sea level rise.

The Bay Foundation first staked out the plot in December 2016, but waited until Tuesday to hold the official ribbon cutting, so visitors could see dune plant seedlings emerging from the sand.

“The theory is that the plants will help spark formation of little dunes, which we’re kind of seeing already,” said Bay Foundation Watershed Programs Manager Melodie Grubbs.

…Already, animals are taking notice. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found a threatened western snowy plover nest in the restoration plot last month, the first one discovered in L.A. County in more than 70 years. High winds destroyed the nest, but Chris Dellith, senior fish and wildlife biologist at the agency’s Ventura office, was still encouraged. “This is a sign that against all odds, western snowy plovers are making a comeback,” he said….

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