EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Pulling weeds and removing debris is how many volunteers spend their Saturday mornings once a month. They do this to help preserve the LAX Dunes
"When we remove some of these non-native weeds we are just giving that little help they need to grow," says Grubbs.
According to Grubbs, there are many native species on the dunes that need protecting, like various shore birds, lizards and plants. When a non-native species come in, it disturbs the ecosystem for the native ones.
"Often times we see these non-native weeds and they come in and fill up the areas that are supposed to be sand and supposed to be really dynamic dunes. By removing these, we are restoring that habitat and restoring the functionality for native plants and native animals," says Grubbs.
One of these native animals is the El Segundo Blue Butterfly. According to Los Angeles World Airports, it was placed on the endangered species list in 1976. Their main habitat is the Coastal Buckwheat that actually grows on the dunes. The butterfly spends most of its life on this plant.
A major part of the dune restoration project is to remove the non-native weeds that could overcrowd and kill the native Coastal Buckwheat, this in turn saves the endangered butterfly.
"If this disappears from the LAX Dunes the butterfly will also disappear with it, that’s why restoration is so important," says Grubbs.
According to LAWA, this is only one of the 900 species being protected on the dunes and Grubbs has noticed great change since the monthly project has been in effect.
"We have been doing scientific monitoring outside these community restoration events and have found that the sites that have the community restoration events are doing way better than some of the other sites on the dunes," says Grubbs.
Anyone can volunteer to help save our native species on the LAX Dunes. Click here for registration information.