Friday, April 12, 2013

LA Native, April 14

LA Native RIdes the MTA

LA Native is a coalition of local and national organizations committed to convincing the MTA and Expo Authority to use California native plants for landscaping light rail stations, starting with phase two of the Expo Line.

The stations for Expo Line Phase 2 present a perfect opportunity to create multiple
pockets of native landscaping that will 

  • reduce water and fertilizer use
  • create vital islands of native habitat for birds, butterflies, and other species
  • serve as public educational showcases of our native plant varieties, encouraging our citizenry to make better, sustainable choices for landscaping
Stop by and learn how they're doing and why planting CA natives is so important.

The Theodore Payne Foundation (an LA Native member), provides some startling facts: 

  1. California uses 20% of its energy consumption to move and treat water. 
  2. Up to 70% of residential water goes to watering landscaping in our county—landscaping we've filled with non-native tropicals and invasive species that consume on average seven times more water than our native plants. 
  3. Unlike the indigenous plants that evolved in our nitrogen poor soil, non-natives need fertilizers. The abundant use of such fertilizers has become a huge source of runoff pollution in Santa Monica Bay. 
  4. Landscaping with native plants does not cost more, and in some cases reduces maintenance costs. 
  5. We've lost 90% of our native songbird and butterfly populations in the last fifty years. This is no coincidence. A primary food source for baby birds is butterfly caterpillars. Nearly all the native butterfly populations can only eat the native plants. By filling the Los Angeles area with non-native ornamentals, we've created a cascade effect of damage.
One more startling fact: California native gardens are beautiful. You'll see many examples at the 5th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase on April 20. Preview some of them at the Green Tent.

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