With our pollinator pollution in enormous trouble around the country and around the world -- especially bees and Monarch butterflies -- Councilmember Koretz believes it is vitally important to help rebuild their habitat and to protect them from abusive pesticides and herbicides. If our pollinators disappear, our human food supply might not be far behind. Our native pollinators (as well as other insects, birds and animals) have evolved to interact with native plants. When we decide which plants to use for city projects, or for our homes, we can actually decide to increase healthy habitat for our native friends and help keep them healthy.
Additionally, as an effective measure to greatly reduce water consumption in Southern California, Councilmember Koretz has worked to financially incentivize the removal of lawns both as a City Councilmember and as a Boardmember in his two-year stint on the Metropolitan Water District Board. He introduced a City Council and is working hard to institute a motion as part of this effort to use those financial incentives to create a watershed approach to landscaping replacement, which includes the use of native plants. You can read that motion here.
Councilmember Koretz has been a big support of using native plants for landscaping in Los Angeles. Inspired and supported by CD-5 Palms constituent, Charles Miller and his group LA Native, in 2013, the Councilmember was able to move the Expo Line Board from using 3% native plant landscaping in CD-5 to over 90%.
LA Native has put together some guidelines to grow native plans in West Los Angeles, click here for more information.
Please see the story below for more details about the native plants on the Expo Line.
A victory for native plants
Friday, Jan 18, 2013
Los Angeles’ new Expo Line’s next stop is in Council District 5. While a light rail train running through our neighborhoods may be a big and not always welcome change, we know that it’s the right thing to do to address one of the City’s most pressing problems: traffic, which not only contributes greatly to greenhouse gases, but also costs us economically in loss of worker productivity, and loss of quality of life.
As Expo line moved into Phase 2 and therefore into CD-5 and CD-11, Councilmember Koretz was appointed along with Councilmember Bonin to serve on the Expo Line Board. Local community groups including neighborhood councils spoke up and asked to be included in the conversation about the landscaping of Phase 2. Charles Miller, who sits on the Palms Neighborhood Council, started a coalition called LA Native (lanative.org), and set to work educating other community groups about the importance of using native plants to landscape Phase 2 of the Expo line.
Of course, native plants are pretty, even dazzling, and provide lovely decorative value to any landscape. The additional virtues of using native plants are plentiful. Up to 70% of residential water used in California goes to watering primarily non-native plants, and nearly 20% of California’s energy is used to pump and treat water: by contrast, plants native to California use only one-seventh the water of most non-native plants. Also, plants native to California don’t require fertilizers – a primary source of water pollution. Planting natives not only saves money, it reduces the contaminants that flow into Santa Monica Bay and into our struggling oceans. Local birds and butterflies have long learned to feed off of, pollinate and otherwise interact with native plants, but generally ignore non-natives in a way that is injurious to nature's balance.
Mr. Miller raised support for his initiative from the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council, the Westside Neighborhood Council, and the Mar Vista Community Council, as well as the Theodore Payne Foundation, the California Native Plant Society, the Los Angeles Audubon Society, Sustainable Works, Light Rail for Cheviot Hills and the Sierra Club West Los Angeles Chapter. Councilmember Koretz took their lead and, in June 2012, introduced a motion to the Expo Board asking landscapers to use native plants to the fullest extent possible regarding the Expo Line.
The Expo Line’s Urban Design Committee has been working with its landscape architect and with the Theodore Payne Foundation the past year and on January 10th, 2012 presented several options to the Expo Board: from an option of using 60% native plants (an over 50% increase from the original design) to an option to using 90% native plants (an 80% increase). The Expo Board, led by then-Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, voted for the 90% option and also voted to look into native and non-invasive trees to replace the palm tree options suggested by the landscaper. Councilmember Koretz was very pleased with the outcome and greatly appreciated Supervisor Yaroslavsky’s leadership.
CD5 Constituents Who Have Gone Native
If you would like to submit a photo from your own native plant garden in CD-5 for us to display here on the website, please send it to Andy Shrader in our office.