The stations for phase two of the Expo Line present a perfect opportunity to create multiple pockets of native landscaping that will reduce water and fertilizer use; create vital islands of native habitat for birds, butterflies, and other species; and serve as public educational showcases of our native plant varieties, encouraging our citizenry to make better, sustainable choices for landscaping.
The Theodore Payne Foundation (an LA Native member), provides some startling facts: 1) California uses 20% of its energy consumption to move and treat water. 2) Up to 70% of residential water goes to watering landscaping in our county—landscaping we've filled with non-native tropicals and invasive species that consume on average seven times more water than our native plants. 3) Unlike the indigenous plants that evolved in our nitrogen-poor soil, non-natives need fertilizers. The abundant use of such fertilizers has become a huge source of runoff pollution in Santa Monica Bay. 4) Landscaping with native plants does not cost more, and in some cases reduces maintenance costs. 5) We've lost 90% of our native songbird and butterfly populations in the last fifty years. This is no coincidence. A primary food source for baby birds is butterfly caterpillars. Nearly all the native butterfly populations can only eat the native plants. By filling the Los Angeles area with non-native ornamentals, we've created a cascade effect of damage.