Mayor Garcetti’s recent announcement of two new stormwater capture systems planned for LAX is good news for the future health of the Santa Monica Bay. While it’s great to have leadership from the mayor’s office, the actions of every Los Angeles resident impacts our coastal waters. We’ve compiled the following guide to help our neighbors contribute to a healthier bay and cleaner beaches.
1. Keep water on your property
Any water that leaves your property flows onto sidewalks and streets and is eventually released into the ocean, untreated. Obvious pollutants such as car oil, litter and paints contaminate the bay, but other products we may never think of, such as pesticides and herbicides from our gardens and yards, are carried by the rain into storm drains. Collectively, this runoff has a devastating effect on marine wildlife.
• Install a drip irrigation system
Sprinklers spray water onto driveways, sidewalks and streets, from which it then flows into the bay. A drip system wastes almost no water; the water is slowly released near the roots of the plants.
When you include permeable features in your yard such as gravel and pavers for your driveways, walkways and patios, the water percolates into the ground instead of overflowing into storm drains. When water filters through the soil, it is clean by the time it recharges the underground aquifer.
We recommend contacting handpicked concrete contractor Ron Odell to install a French drain to redirect water back onto your property.
• Design your landscape with natural contours
Berms and swales (raised and low areas in your landscape), as well as dry creek beds, add interest to your garden while collecting water.
The City of Los Angeles offers rain barrel rebates.
3. Kill your lawn
Lawns require sprinklers, petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides—all major contributors to toxic runoff. Native and drought tolerant plants require far less water and invite a biodynamic that contributes to healthy soil and clean groundwater.
Any of neighbor2neighbor’s native landscapers will be happy to help you kick your lawn habit.
4. Install a greywater system
Lessening our load on the municipal sewage system can help prevent dangerous overflows into the local waterways. A greywater system diverts gently used water from your washing machine or bathtub to the landscape. Micronutrients in household soaps and detergents are dissolved in the greywater and contribute to soil health and your yard’s flora. Local birds, native bees and other insects that thrive in a living ecosystem will all benefit as well.
Any pest control product that you use around your home or garden has the potential to end up in the ocean. If you have pests, explore environmentally friendly options such as borates and preventative measures to eradicate them.