Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Los Cerritos Wetlands are Wet- which is not as common as you might think.

I finally got off my kiester on a Saturday morning and took the whole famdamily to do a Los Cerritos Wetlands cleanup. These wetlands, which were almost entirely filled in by misguided individuals a century ago, are now seriously degraded, full of invasive species of plants and dotted with those mutant-grasshopper-looking oilwells you can just see in the background of this photo (which is not mine, but is representative of the area). I was pround of how well my kids did. Jillian spent a full hour towing garden wagonloads of debris and trash back and forth to the dumpster. Adults loaded and unloaded it, but she was a trooper. Ben towed even heavier loads. Michael worked for about half an hour before his attention wandered to the search for interesting bits of trash to attempt to smuggle home. I let him get away with one hair barrette that looked like it had been lost on the last cleanup day. (If anything else made it home, I will find out when I do the wash!) We were part of the biggest turnout that the Los Cerritos Wetlands Stewards ( had ever had. If they post the picture they took of us, I will repost it here.

The boys were really hoping to see some snakes while we were working, but no luck. They did get a kick out of the wild rabbit that bolted out of a pile of brush they were clearing. I wasn't all that impressed by the two circling red-tailed hawks, because the both of them have made several attempts (usually failed ones) to catch small birds in our back yard. And of course, living along the flood control chanel we see all sorts of herons, egrets, and pelicans. They've even left the occasional offering of a dropped fish head in the neighborhood (yes, it is as gross as it sounds to find one of those lying on the lawn). But I did get to see a kestrel in the wild for the first time. None of these photos are mine, BTW. My cargo pants were so full of gloves and water bottles that I was already in danger of losing my modesty without having a camera along, as well.

We treated the kids to lunch at Pick Up Stix afterward, which seems to have impressed upon them the notion that taking care of our local environment- what little there is left of it, anyhow- is a reasonably fun thing to do. Now to figure out how to get the Young Men & Women to make it a service project...There's no way I am treating them all to Chinese food afterward, but maybe ice cream sundaes at my house?
Oh, and I almost forgot to explain what I meant by the title. The los Cerritos Wetlands are an ephemeral, or seasonal, wetlands. Since the landfilling cut off direct access to the ocean, it is only really "wet" when we have had rain- and lately we've had more than we know what to do with. Someday the Los Cerritos Wetlands Stewards wants to cut an access to the San Gabriel River, which runs right past the wetlands. This would idealy return the area to nearly its original circumstances. So which do you think will happen first - the nature freaks will defeat the corporate oil interests in court, or sea level will rise enough to make the wetlands truly wet, regardless?


  1. I like your idea of having the YW/YM do this as a service project...along with the ice cream of course!

    A few years ago, (like 6) the Stake YMYW went to Bolsa Chica Wetlands, and pulled Ice Plants for 2 hrs. That was miserable!! The only bonus was going to Wild Rivers after, lol

  2. Libby and Sage are going to Bolsa Chica on Weds. I give you a great big shout out!