#1: LAX restores coastal sand dunes
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), which owns and operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), pursues a variety of sustainability initiatives in support of the environment, from energy stewardship to water conservation. One of its most interesting projects, however, is its initiative to restore coastal dunes adjacent to the airport.
In 2013, LAWA began its Coastal Dunes Improvement Project to restore 302-acres of sand dunes located between the west end of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the Pacific Ocean. These LAX sand dunes represent the largest remaining sand dune zone in Southern California. The site provides a habitat for over 900 species, including the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly, Blainville’s horned lizard and Southern California legless lizard, among other rare plant animal and insect species.
To support biodiversity in this region, LAWA has worked to protect and manage the habitat through removal of invasive plants, weeds and trash. LAWA also removed abandoned streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, retaining walls, foundations and above ground utilities left from an abandoned residential settlement and subsequently planted native coastal dune and coastal prairie vegetation in these areas.
In 2018, a five-year post-restoration assessment showed the area contained predominantly native vegetation and unvegetated sand and supports native wildlife. LAWA maintains these sustainability efforts in the area through the continued organization of community events for the removal of non-native and invasive vegetation.