Los Angeles Reaps the Benefits of Restoring the Santa Monica Bay

Los Angeles has made major progress in restoring the Santa Monica Bay. Now, The Bay Foundation's Tom Ford sees opportunities for L.A. to capitalize on its natural resources.

2 minute read

April 28, 2016, 9:00 AM PDT

By Elana Eden

Santa Monica Bay

Gert Hochmuth / Shutterstock

In The Planning Report, Ford praises L.A.'s attention to water quality and coastal ecosystems, the impacts of which are detailed in the Foundation's recent "State of the Bay" report. But he notes that Los Angeles still discharges wastewater into the ocean.

In the midst of a drought, he says, there are better options.

"Water resources are water resources regardless of their current state," he explains. "With the application of technology, smart thinking, and planning, waste currently being discharged into the bay is actually a very valuable, if not irreplaceable, resource that needs to be preserved."

Reusing wastewater could help clean up the coast while providing a sustainable, local water supply for L.A., as the city seeks to reduce its imports. Ford believes many projects on the Foundation's agenda could similarly benefit the urban sphere.

Take the Ballona Wetlands, a marshy reserve that over the years has suffered both controversy and neglect. When the Foundation completes restoration there, Ford says, Ballona will play "a unique position in Los Angeles's future: It's a 600-acre expanse smack dab in the middle of the Westside that's going to provide public health benefits through green space and recreation."

The Bay Foundation is a non-profit that partners with the EPA and the state Water Resources Board. Now, it's shifting its focus to long-term resilience efforts that will help Los Angeles withstand the impacts of climate change—specifically addressing sea-level rise and kelp forests, both of which could support the culture and economy of costal communities.

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