Hidden creek on campus undergoes a rebirth
Most UCLA students don't know it's there. Few faculty have ever seen it. But Stone Canyon Creek, the tiny ribbon of water that runs behind the Anderson School of Management, is now getting some much needed attention in the form of a restoration to return it to its native state.
UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Santa Monica Baykeeper are joining forces with volunteers to clean up this only remaining unburied section of the once dominant creek on campus and restore its natural beauty. Over the years non-native plant species have choked out much of the native vegetation.
Student volunteers were out Saturday, July 19, ripping out intrusive weeds and vines. They are planning to replant the banks with native plants, trees and shrubs.
Grants totaling $100,000 from the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and the California Coastal Conservancy support the project.
Why lavish so much attention on something so small?
"Restoring the creek offers spectacular opportunities," said Mark Abramson, director of watershed programs for Baykeeper. He oversees the project. "The creek will serve as a field laboratory for original studies, from water quality monitoring to botany. We hope the university will embrace the site as an outdoor classroom."
According to Cully Nordby, academic director of UCLA's Institute of the Environment, "The stream is important as a demonstration not only of how native California habitat looks, but also how it supports a community of native plants and animals, and the role it plays in allowing water to seep into the ground rather than be carried out to the ocean."
The restoration should also encourage native bird species to return to this part of campus.
Abramson also sees the restoration as a small but important piece of the bigger conservation picture for the campus and Los Angeles.
"I'd love to see the creek inspire students, faculty and people in the community to think about other creek sites that could benefit from similar work," he said. "Let's fix the damage we've caused in the past and let nature can do what it does best."
Creek restorations are also scheduled for the following Saturdays: August 9, Sept. 27, Oct. 18 and Nov. 15. Volunteers are encouraged to arrive any time between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. behind the Anderson School of Management at Charles Young Drive and Westwood Plaza. Parking is available in Parking Structure 4.
Published: Monday, July 21, 2008