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Five Ways Angelenos Can Heal the Santa Monica Bay

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


Permeable paving with stones in concrete
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.

Call any of our handpicked native landscapers for more information.

• Choose permeable paving materials

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.

Once again, our handpicked native landscapers can install these features and increase your home’s curb appeal.

2. Capture the rain


Rain barrels


Rain barrels and cisterns can also keep water out of storm drains, while providing relief from California’s drought by diverting stored rainwater to your landscaping.

TreePeople currently offers free rain barrels through its partnership with Rain Barrels International.

The City of Los Angeles offers rain barrel rebates.

3. Kill your lawn


Front yard native landscaping by Steve Siegrist Design.


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


Greywater system installation by Greywater Corps


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.

Contact Leigh Jerrard of the Greywater Corps to get started.

5. Opt for non-toxic pest control


Termite control using nontoxic borates


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.

All of neighbor2neighbor’s handpicked pest control services offer treatments with minimum impact on the bay.

Learn More:

Join Heal the Bay for a Beach Cleanup.

Get educated and involved with local watershed issues through Ballona Creek Renaissance.

Sign on to this statewide trash policy to help keep garbage out of California’s rivers, streams and oceans.

Check out LA County’s guide to alternative cleaning products for your home.

Read about the City’s plan to install stormwater filtration at LAX.

TagsGarden, Green, Sustainability, Greywater & Rainwater Systems, Hardscape, Native Gardens, Water Conservation Systems, Hardscape, Pest Control
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