Restoration progress

July 25, 2008 § 8 Comments

§ 8 Responses to Restoration progress

  • Mike Letteriello says:

    Will there be a restoration of lost amphibian life too? Many of these formerly uncemented streams teemed with tadpoles of local toads and frogs. I know, I used to collect tadpoles and crawdads at an uncemented culvert that crosses Redondo Beach Bl. near Crenshaw (right near El Camino College) that we used to call
    “Alondra Swamp.”

  • Mike Letteriello says:

    Please notify me of follow-up comments via email, which I omitted to mention with comment just posted.

    • Jessica Hall says:

      Hi Mike, It’s reasonable to expect that amphibians will recolonize once the habitat is back.

      There are a few remaining wetland fragments of what you called Alondra Swamp (aka Dominguez Slough): the Gardena Willows (Vermont & Artesia), Albertoni Farms (near Albertoni and I don’t remember), a little bit of creek by the Victoria Golf Course, and the Devil’s Dip Creek in West Athens and possibly the Madrona Marsh. As you can tell by the distribution of those places, it was once a very large wetland! Anyway, I would expect that some of those areas still have some amphibians.

  • Mike Letteriello says:

    Thanks for your prompt reply.

    We have a fairly large native garden/nature center (for a school campus) where we have a permanent colony of tree frogs that reproduce every year in our artificial vernal pools. I’m currently curious about whether there are any spadefoot toad populations left anywhere in the South Bay. I saw them when I was growing up in Redondo but of course they’re largely extinct along the coast. I’m retired now and have plenty of time to explore local sites.

    Recently I netted some tadpoles in a partially or wholly uncemented culvert that crosses Anza Ave near Halison in Redondo Beach. Apparently it deadends at Entradero Park in Torrance (Redondo). I assume it was an “urban runoff channel
    only” but what do I know compared to what you guys on Creek Freak know?

    • Jessica Hall says:

      I posed your question about Spadefoot Toads to Travis Longcore, a biologist with Urban Wildlands and UCLA, and USC. He knows vernal pools better than anyone I know. Here was his reply:

      “I don’t know if there are any still extant. They were supposed to be reintroduced to Madrona Marsh from LAX as part of the LAX expansion. Also they were in Lomita in a vernal pool that was destroyed in 1995 (per Jeremiah George, now at UC Riverside).”

      Just out of curiosity, where are the artificial vernal pools you refer to?

  • Mike Letteriello says:

    Thanks, Jessica. Would love to talk to Travis Longcore sometime in the future. And Jeremiah George.

    I was aware of the LAX population of spadefoots.

    If there are other spadefoots in our region, they are most likely in Orange County, where for example they are attempting to restore them to Laguna Wilderness Park.

    I was aware of this legendary vernal pool in Lomita and I thought I had found it, but this was after 1995, and the large rainwater-created pool I found
    (that was destroyed a couple of years later by a new apartment building) only netted western toads for me. Of course, there may have been spadefoots there.

    I created artificial vernal pools with pond liner in Prisk Native Garden, a fairly large native garden/nature center on the campus of an elementary school in Long Beach. We have a great display of annual wildflowers this year coming up at our Open House on Sunday, April 11, from 1-4 p.m. I’d certainly love you and your crew being there. You would be pleasantly surprised. Barbara Eisenstein, who used to do the horticultural hotline at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, has told me personally that it is her
    “favorite native plant garden,” and she has seen hundreds. And of course, we have tadpoles and western fence lizards, which I have introduced here and are reproducing happily. Currently all of our tadpoles are local tree frogs
    (Hyla regilla). We are fortunate to have this space on an elementary school campus (approx. 7800 sq. ft.).

    If I had to do it over again, when I designed the garden in 1995 I would have allowed more room for more vernal pools or just one very large one. I just have three small ones now and will make room for another in an area I’m renovating. Our “fish pond” contains mosquito fish and “crawdads” and I’ve kept them separate from the tadpole population.

    Thanks for indulging me. I will certainly explore the newly-restored creek portion behind UCLA (my old alma mater). I had heard of this ancient watercourse. As I said before, I’m retired now, and I have a lot of time to become that twelve-year-old kid again exploring “Alondra Swamp.”

  • Jonathan says:

    Is anyone aware of any Western Toad populations still extant in the South Bay? I’m familiar with populations that were still around in the ’80s and ’90s, but I’d like to know where they’ve been seen in the last five years.

  • Mike Letteriello says:

    Jonathan- Don’t know about Western Toads in the South Bay, but I’ve collected Western Toad tadpoles in drainage ditches and vernal pools in Long Beach. One year on the side of Studebaker Road in Long Beach there were thousands of tadpoles of Western Toads. So they’re still around. (Haven’t seen any lately, though; they’ve all been tree frogs.) They were all over the place when I was a kid in Redondo, of course (in the Middle Ages).

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