TORRANCE, Calif. – Ducks and their ducklings are finding new comfort at the Madrona Marsh Preserve in Torrance as hundreds of daily visitors were kept out of the area since late March.

What You Need To Know

  • Madrona Marsh Preserve one of the last vernal freshwater marshes in L.A. County

  • Marsh saw an influx of birds, frogs and plant life

  • Marsh is limiting visitors with 1 hour and 45-minute appointments

  • Birds found nesting on popular paths

Melissa Loebl, a naturalist at the preserve, said the area had to be closed off to help protect the 45-acres of land.

“We noticed a significant increase in visitors. It went from 100 to 500 to 700 to 1,200 in one day,” Loebl said.

During the closures, Loebl witnessed an abundance of plants and wildlife on popular trails they would normally avoid.

“I noticed a lot of birds nesting in areas they don’t normally nest, on the trails, a significant increase in birds. We just walked on a path that was full of different sweet clover and smartweed, which is great habitat for butterflies and frogs,” Loebl said.

Wildlife is flourishing at the Madrona Marsh Preserve, known to be one of the last vernal freshwater marshes in L.A. County. But with the right safety measures, Loebl said, it’s also the perfect setting for visitors to learn more and appreciate nature.

The preserve recently reopened for four days a week by appointment only to help maintain social distancing and the number of visitors in the area. Parker Lawry visited the preserve with her family. While on the trail, she said she couldn’t be happier to see some of the wildlife she had no idea was there.

“I like to see all the birds today. I saw a blue jay, and I liked to see the swamps and see frogs,” Lawry said.

While birdwatchers won’t be able to get an up-close view for now, Loebl said her team would work on reopening some areas for wildlife and visitors to enjoy.

“We are going to make sure that we probably put up a park ambassador, staff member or volunteer out there to educate the community so they can look with their eyes and listen with their ears. But we will definitely continue to protect those areas,” Loebl said.

The closure of the preserve unknowingly created a positive change for wildlife. Now, Loebl is hoping visitors will be inspired to take a moment and find ways to give back to nature.

Each appointment allows visitors to visit the Madrona Marsh Preserve trails for one hour and 45-minutes. The limited appointments are in place to help visitors maintain proper social distancing onsite and help protect the area from an influx of visitors at one time.

Weekly appointments can be made by calling 310-782-3989 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.