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Habitat: Restoration Work Cut Out for Airports on the El Segundo Dunes

October 20, 1994

In response to Deborah Schoch's fine article on the past, present and future of the El Segundo Dunes habitat ("Butterfly Safety Net," Oct. 13th), there is good reason for concern about the area's ongoing restoration.

The Los Angeles City Department of Airports, now in charge of the vastly improved 200-acre preserve, lacks the expertise, as well as the honest desire, to provide the maintenance that has been carried out for the past five years by qualified biologists and enthusiastic environmentalists.

The tragedy to be reckoned with is that the fruits of this dedicated and caring labor could easily be destroyed not only by insufficient funds but also by disinterest and neglect.

In November, 1985, the California Coastal Commission admonished the Airport Department for allowing the acreage to lie fallow and barren for a dozen years, even though it was the known habitat of the federally listed endangered El Segundo blue butterfly.

This must not be repeated. The re-establishing ecosystems can be an invaluable resource to scientists and an educational tool for school children about sand dunes and what makes them special places in our environment.

As the new custodian of this treasure, the Department of Airports has its work cut out for it. If it can't do the job properly, then the decision makers should turn the preserve over to someone, or some agency, that can.

RALLIE DAVISON

Playa del Rey

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