The Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve

A construction industry professional, Andrew Jares Oldfield has managed various California projects and is involved in the completion of the new Apple, Inc., headquarters. In addition, Andrew Jares Oldfield volunteers with the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.

The Los Angeles area has lost more than 95 percent of its wetlands over 150 or so years. Hence, the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve is situated on 600 acres of a wetland area that once spanned 2,000 acres. Ballona Creek provided essential water to the wetlands until it was cemented. Despite the major alterations to the landscape, a number of critical wildlife habitats remain, including estuarine marsh.

Narrow channels reflect past marsh drainage efforts, and the limitation of tidal influence has resulted in decreased biodiversity. The high-marsh species known as pickleweed dominates. Moreover, salt pans situated above the tidal channels constitute flat depressions that flood during high tide periods and turn into ponds after periods of rainfall. When these ponds are present, numerous birds flock to them.

The degraded saltwater marsh presents a contrast to the small freshwater wetland that was restored in 2003. This ecologically vital area has attracted over 200 bird species, including nesting birds that had vanished from the area seven decades previously.