Ocean Friendly Gardens, GAP
April 26 2013

Thousands See News Clip & Millions Will Walk By Strand OFG

by Paul Herzog

Elected officials, water district reps, and a sister non-profit turned out at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Ocean Friendly Garden along The Strand in Manhattan Beach, CA. Over the course of a year, tons of locals and tourists walk, run and visit the locale. Because of great outreach to media by South Bay-Surfrider's grant partner and good post-event brainstorming, what might have been a typical government event turned into major media coverage and opportunities for collaboration.

The site is a hillside that had previously looked like "anywhere" along the coast: runoff, erosion and non-native plants (pictured above). After CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention - was applied:

  • - Contouring directs rain water into small checkdams.
  • - Even rain water from the neighbor's downspout is absorbed by the OFG.
  • - Mulch and a blanket-like mat beneath it build a natural netting to prevent erosion and weed growth, and hold in moisture.
  • - The site has native plants, with drip irrigation to get them established. The plants are small now, but will grow in pretty fast.

Among the speakers were Beth Crosse (in picture above, far right), Co-Chair of the OFG Sub-Committee for the South Bay Surfrider Chapter. Amy Howorth (Vice Mayor of Manhattan Beach) proclaimed that she wants to go OFG at her home, so Beth and Julie spoke with her afterwards about doing a joint OFG site assessment, as well as Carol Kwan (West Basin Division 3 Director). Julie Gonella (Manhattan Beach Botanic Garden's Maintenance Director) noted that she and fellow Botanic Gardeners walked every street in the City looking for sustainable landscapes: they found that just 3% met their OFG-type critiera. Recognizing that the OFG Program includes neighborhood walks and workdays, Beth and Julie (at right) started brainstorming on a collaborative approach to scaling up landscape retrofits,neighborhood by neighborhood.

Included in the day's ceremony was the dedication of a water bottle refilling station right next to the OFG (at left, with G3's John Tikotsky and City of Manhattan Beach's Environmental Programs Manager, Sona Kalapura). Eliminating single-use plastic bottles and bags is a key objective of Surfrider's Rise Above Plastics (RAP) Program. Craig Cadwallader, the RAP Chairperson for South Bay Surfrider, was a strong supporter of installing the station.

The ceremony got super media coverage, including a tv segment on KCAL-Channel 9 (watch the video, below right), as well as print articles in the Daily Breeze and Manhattan Beach Patch.

It is the fourth of 11 OFGs that will be built on public properties in highly visible locations as part of a State grant awarded to West Basin Municipal Water District and Surfrider Foundation and designed by G3/The Green Gardens Group. The most recent demonstration OFG was installed in Malibu (click here for the blog post). Hermosa Beach City Councilman Jeff DuClos also attended the ceremony, and Hermosa Beach Community Center is one of the remaining sites to soon be home to an OFG.