Energizing environmentalists more than the Energizer Bunny is a recent discovery of the rare and highly endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly in the Ballona Wetlands.
We’re not talking just one or two of the flutterers; about 30 of the small delicate butterflies were seen in the dune restoration area, a location that volunteers have been hard at work to restore sections of the 600-acre-habitat.
The Argonaut reports:
The discovery came about during commission bird surveys in the wetlands, according to Karina Johnston, a restoration biologist with the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.
There was no evidence this summer of reproductive activity in the reserve’s dunes,Johnstonsaid, but the presence of the endangered butterfly and its use of the site is a great start.
“It’s a really good sign that they are utilizing the site,” the restoration biologist told The Argonaut…This is the first time that (the El Segundo Blue) has been picked up in a survey…”
Volunteers have been removing ice plant, the fast-growing nonnative bugaboo that covers plants that the butterfly needs as a food source, such as coastal buckwheat.
Overall, the number of El Segundo Blues seems to be on the up-and-up in the tiny 200-acre designated habitat near LAX and Playa del Rey. A field study this January estimated the population to between 111,562 and 116,474, an increase of about 30 percent since 2009. At one time, fewer than 500 butterflies existed.
But the Blue isn’t the only species to make a return to Ballona. Native flowers including the Orcutt’s Yellow Pincushion have been recently documented which once again makes environmentalists jig for joy over the potential revitalization of the wetland. No batteries required.