Santa Monica Beach Combats Rising Sea Levels With 'Re-Wilding' Program

After starting its coastal “re-wilding” project last year, the city of Santa Monica and The Bay Foundation have officially completed seeding for their Wild Beach Restoration Pilot Program. The program aims to restore approximately three acres of Santa Monica Beach’s north end, returning coastal plant and wildlife to the beach that have been eliminated, and protecting the beach from the effects of climate change.

Photo via Santa Monica Bay

The site still requires years of careful monitoring, but there has already been a noticeable difference in the ecosystem after the seeding of four types of California dune plant species. Although the plants are only seedlings now, dunes typically grow to 3-4 feet tall, serving as natural barriers against storm surges and coastal flooding. Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found an endangered snowy plover nest in the restoration plot, which hasn’t been seen in LA County in over 70 years.

There are several benefits to this “re-wilding” program. Not only is this project a low-cost way to beautify the coastline, it is also designed to minimize disturbances to the beach. The site will also introduce more natural and healthy scenery to Los Angeles residents, especially future generations. The program aims to promote tourism in the area through bird watching opportunities, interesting views, and environmental education on subjects such as helpful beach management and native plants. 

This project will also be used as an example for all of Southern California, demonstrating that wildlife restoration and recreational activities can coexist.

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