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A new OFG at Shoreline Village

We are stoked to announce our new Ocean Friendly Garden project at Shoreline Village! This OFG project was a collaboration between Long Beach Utilities, local California Climate Action Corps fellows, the Marine Bureau, California Eco Design, and Surfrider Long Beach. All of these groups came together to make this idea come to life and set a transformative example of how our landscapes can protect clean water, support biodiversity, and make a more climate-resilient future!
The project area is next to a popular bike path and a boat marina. This area is quite busy on the weekend, making it a great place for a demonstration project. The adjacent storage shed presented an opportunity to collect and redirect runoff created by the roof, which creates about 300 gallons of runoff per 1in of rainfall. 
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  • shoreline before with sprinklers
On the first workday, our hard-working volunteers removed 525 sq ft of water-wasting grass lawn and created a rain garden basin to collect stormwater runoff. We dug up strips of fescue grass with flat shovels and removed as much of the soil as possible before tossing the turf in the dumpster.
The roots of the fescue grass were only a few inches long, forming a thick mat at the surface. The native plants put in their place will grow more robust root systems that reach several feet down and create spongey, water-absorbing soil that is ready to filter and absorb runoff. These long roots also allow for the plants to be resilient during our hot, dry summer season. A few volunteers were considering removing some of their own grass lawn at home, and now have the hands-on experience to tackle their own DIY projects!
  • OFG volunteers removing grass
  • OFG volunteers weeding
After all of the grass was removed, we created a rain garden basin by digging out the soil and palm tree roots in an organic "kidney bean" shape. This basin creates an area for runoff to be directed to and sink into the soil instead of flowing into the nearby marina. The new gutters on the building will flow into the basin, and soil and plant roots will filter out nutrients and pollution while hydrating the plants. We mixed the soil we dug out with cactus mix to improve drainage, and then created the bermed upper area around the palm trees with the remaining soil. 
On the second workday, we were ready to plant! The plants were selected with a Catalina Island theme, to highlight the biodiversity of the nearby Channel Islands and their connection with the plants and wildlife found locally in Long Beach. You can check out the complete project plan and plant layout here
  • shoreline project overview
  • plant layout shoreline village
Designs by Kai Craig, California Eco Design
The hill area features sticky monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus), giant lace buckwheat (Eriogonum giganteum), goldenbush (Isocoma menzesii), bush island snap dragon (Gambelia speciosa 'firecracker'), and purple needle grass (Stipa pulchra). The rock wall showcases red buckwheat (Eriogonum grande rubescens) and 3 species of Dudleyas (D. britonni, D. edulis, & D. lanceolata), native succulents that have been threatened by poaching. The rain garden basin was planted with yarrow (Achillea millefolium), rushes (Juncus mexicanus), sedge (Carex praegracilis), and seaside aster (Aster chilensis 'Pt. St George').
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Rendering of the garden in bloom by Kai Craig, California Eco Design
The flow-through planter against the wall will have fragrant pitcher sage (Lepechinia fragrans) and coral bells (Heuchera maxima) after the gutters are installed. Long Beach Utilities and Long Beach Surfrider are working with a local arts council to commission a mural for the wall of the building facing the garden, which will have an interconnected watershed theme. 
All of the native plants will support local biodiversity and provide food and habitat for pollinators like hummingbirds, moths, butterflies, and wild bees. Many migrating pollinators and birds rely on locally native plants to provide unique resources at predictable times of the year, and this is becoming more crucial with the stresses of climate change. Even one plant in a demonstration garden like this (or in your yard at home!) can help make a difference in the health of your local ecosystem. 
 Ocean Friendly Garden Planting 38
 Photo courtesy of City of Long Beach 
After planting, volunteers learned how to install the new drip irrigation line that is replacing the existing spray sprinklers. The drip irrigation directs water into the soil instead of spraying it into the air, helping the plants establish and thrive while wasting less water. We finished the garden with a layer of mulch to keep down weeds and improve soil health. 
The area is now completely transformed from a water-wasting, flat monoculture to a beautiful, biodiverse, climate-resilient Ocean Friendly Garden. We are looking forward to continuing working with the Marine Bureau, LB Utilities, and our volunteers to add nature-based solutions to the Long Beach shoreline and transform this area into enjoyable green space that supports the health of our local watershed. 

Learn more about Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program and how your own yard can support clean water and resilient communities. Like what we're doing? Come garden with us or support our chapter by becoming a member!