Ocean Friendly Gardens, HOW
December 05 2014

Garden Helps Ensure Cleaner Surf In Hermosa Beach, CA

by Paul Herzog

The City of Hermosa Beach's Community Center is in a building once home to a high school that was surrounded by infrequently used turf grass (pictured at right). Now the 2,000 square feet in front of the Center is home to an Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG). A recent ribbon cutting celebrated how rainwater from the roof is now directed into the garden.

This OFG is the 7th out of 10 that are funded through a state grant awarded to West Basin Municipal Water District and Surfrider Foundation. Except for one of the gardens, the designs are created by Surfrider partner, G3/Green Gardens Group. In this case, the G3 designer was John Tikotsky, a landscape architect. Additional funding came from California Water Service Company, who was ably represented in planning meetings by Regional Conservation Coordinator, Susan Cordone.

A Hands-On Workshop (HOW) has been funded by the grant as part of building each of these gardens. 30 community members, some of whom attended an OFG class, participated in a HOW to install plants and drip irrigation in one section of the garden (pictured at left).

Beth Crosse, Chair of the Surfrider-South Bay Chapter's Ocean Friendly Garden Program, was one of the speakers at the ceremony (at right). She noted that the #1 source of pollution draining into Santa Monica Bay is urban runoff. Mayor Pete Tucker (at right in the hat) was stoked that the garden is a model for residents and shows the leadership that the City is taking.

The simple, yet functional, design helps slow, spread and sink rainwater. (The site sits on top of sand dunes.) All the plants are local natives. The South Coast Chapter of the California Native Plant Society gave a generous grant to help build this garden based on the use of natives and improving water quality. There's also a footpath that is wheel chair-friendly and doubles as rainwater absorbing.

The ribbon cutting was covered by local media, including the Easy Reader. A beautiful, informative sign is posted in the garden to educate and inspire for years to come (at right). In addition, the City is so happy with the garden, that they are planning to convert more of the turf grass in another part of the Center in April 2015 (surrounding a statue to surf legend, Dewey Weber)! Thanks to former Surfrider-West LA/Malibu Chapter Chair and Hermosa City Councilman, Jeff Duclos, for helping champion the new garden and the one to come. Lastly, as the ribbon-cutting ceremony ended, Surfrider was told by City Staffer, Homayoun Behboodi, that two years of monintoring an award-winning City water quality project (diverting runoff into swales) on the street in front of the Community Center showed it is working well to prevent pollution.