Los Angeles beaches are recognized around the world for their cool breezes, warm sunshine, and ample waves. Like the millions of humans who live beside it, the Pacific Ocean is a diverse ecosystem of thousands of plants, animals and microorganisms working tirelessly to maintain ideal homeostasis.
Since 1990, The Bay Foundation (TBF) and their partners have dedicated themselves to preserving life in and around Santa Monica Bay by creating and putting into action innovative projects that clean up our waterways, create green spaces in urban areas, and restore natural habitats both above and below sea level.
Under the sea, TBF is reversing ocean habitat losses by restoring kelp forests and eelgrass meadows. Video here. These forests and meadows in turn provide food and shelter for hundreds of species and support local fisheries. Abalone, long prized as seafood and for their shells, their numbers in the wild are now too few to recover without help. Abalone are being actively grown by TBF and returned to the ocean’s kelp forests. These projects locally address climate change, as the kelp and eelgrass combat ocean acidification and slow erosion.
As for the areas beaches, it’s easy to imagine that they were always smooth and beach-towel ready, but not so. TBF manages ongoing projects that have brought back the dunes, plants and wildlife while promoting recreational activities. Their scientists have tracked the growth of plants and dunes over the course of years. Results show these projects create taller beaches that hold back the ocean while preserving recreation for people and refuge for wildlife. Santa Monica’s 3-acre project launched in 2016 and now has a thriving natural dune habitat, which even attracted the threatened western snowy plover to nest, the first time in LA County in 70 years. This “living shoreline” helps address climate change, adds beauty, and protects the coast from erosion and flooding. Anyone is welcome to walk through, explore and learn more about the dunes.
The Bay Foundation also recognizes the potential of individual action to protect the environment and strengthen community. They educate boaters about pollution prevention, assist businesses to reduce single use plastics, and give students the tools to improve their community and provide them the experience needed to be the next generation of environmental leaders.
To learn more or to become involved with The Bay Foundation go to https://www.santamonicabay.org/.
A TASTE OF THE BAY: 1 Pico Restaurant at Shutters on the Beach and Catch Restaurant at Hotel Casa del Mar will be featuring dishes made with sea urchin (aka uni) harvested from our coastline through February 13.
Proceeds will benefit The Bay Foundation and their efforts to preserve the health of the Pacific Ocean.