The ducks are nesting and American coots are resting. Even the red-eared sliders are taking advantage of the beautiful Los Angeles weather.
“The turtles are sunning themselves, look!” explains former L.A. City Councilman Jan Perry.
Wildlife is flourishing in South Los Angeles, thanks in large part to the former councilwoman's efforts.
“So the water level here is pretty high right now because we just finished several weeks of good rain,” says Perry. “You can see the aerators working so there’s a lot of oxygenation in the water.”
And that’s wonderful for the environment and the animals that come to visit. Built at the request of community activist Juanita Tate, the park didn’t come easy.
“This is an area that was very park poor, not a lot of open space,” explains Perry. “So I was able to use clean water bond money and other sources of revenue from the state to be able to take this former MTA bus yard and convert it into a 10-acre wetlands park.”
What was once an MTA bus yard covered in cement and concrete, is now known as the Jan Perry Wetlands Park. Residents are using it to run and have fun, but there’s a purpose beyond exercise for installing a wetland in the middle of a city.
“It was designed for migratory birds and so you see birds landing all the time: herons, egrets, ducks. What I hope to see and possibly do in the future, is to bring in more plantings to pull in hummingbirds, insects, and of course butterflies,” says Perry.
And as necessary as wildlife is to a city, none of it would be possible if we didn’t manage our water, and that’s really how this park benefits the surrounding community. Prior to this, rainwater would spill into the streets and none of it would get collected.
“Even though the objective of this is to treat water, remove contaminants from the soil and protect the water table,” says Perry. “You know this is the oldest part of the city so to create a wetlands so that it had multiple uses including water management and remediation and protection, it's created a space for people to exercise and to run and to relax.”
Next time you’re near a wetland, you might want to stop and smell the flowers and feed the ducks.