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LAX team takes on dune restoration project for Earth Day

Delaware North’s team at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) didn’t have to look far for a way to celebrate Earth Day.

fullsizerender-7417629At the west end of LAX, a nature preserve sits on 307 acres of sand dunes. Native animals and plants that once seemed destined for extinction are thriving again, thanks to a an aggressive restoration project by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), as well as community volunteers — like Delaware North’s team at LAX.

Heavy rains this winter turned the normally dry land into a series of green hills, which brought an onslaught of invasive, non-native plants. In this delicate area, the non-native plants need to be removed by hand, so on April 1, a team of volunteers from the airport worked for three hours to restore and beautify the dunes.

At LAX, there are processes in place for cleaning and recycling, and that’s everyone’s job working with and for the city,” said Kurt Clausen, Delaware North’s general manager at the airport. “We wanted to work with the airport and the community, and ‘Saving the Dunes’ accomplished both, from the environmental side as well as saving an endangered species — the El Segundo Blue Butterfly.”

The LAX El Segundo Dunes Preserve is home to the federally endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly, as well as other rare plant, animal and insect species. It is the largest remaining fragment of the El Segundo Dunes complex, and provides habitat for more than 900 species, some of which cannot be found anywhere else.