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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Botanical Banquet: Birds develop a taste for Echo Park Lake wetlands

Black netting has been draped over new Echo Park Lake wetlands to keep birds away.

The newly planted wetlands in Echo Park Lake were created to help keep the water clean and provide a habitat for wildlife once the lake reopens after an $85 million clean up. Those fledgling wetlands are not only eco-friendly but they also are tasty, too. At least to the ducks and other birds that been feasting on some of the first batches of the  nearly 20,000 aquatic plants that will be growing in the lake.  Faced with the prospect of birds gorging themselves on the $200,000 wetlands before they mature, work crews have covered some of the wetlands with black netting and tossed some colorful Scare Eye Bird Chaser balloons ($15.54 on Amazon for a pack of three) to keep the birds at bay. “They ate the first planting of some of the plants completely,” said Randy McDonald, who is supplying the aquatic plants for the project.

A “Scare Eye” balloon is supposed to chase away birds.

McDonald said he had warned officials about birds pecking away at the young plants. “They found the Sagittaria montevidensis the most appetizing,” McDonald said. “They ate all of the leaves of water hawthorn.”  The birds apparently passed on the water lilies but did like to” break off the leaves.”

Despite the wetland banquet, McDonald said most of the plants will grow back from their roots and thrive – if protected – until they are big and  hardy enough to withstand the hungry birds.

Once established, the four-acres of wetlands, which are spread around the lake,  will be thick with a wide variety of plants. Variegated Mock Orange, Deer Grass and California Lilac will be planted in the rain garden, south of the maintenance yard, according to Public Works spokeswoman Michelle Vargas.  Canyon Prince Wild Rye, Dwarf Mat Rush and Morning Light Maiden Grass will be planted around the perimeter of the lake; and Natal Plum and more Mock Orange is going in around the new pump house.

McDonald, owner of McDonald’s Aquatic Nursery in Reseda, said he will also be adding some water iris and water lilies to provide colorful blooms when the lake’s Lotus Bed is dormant (McDonald will also be providing new lotus plants for the lake).  “I tried to bring a Monet look [to the wetlands] so people will want to take pictures and stare.”

Let’s hope the ducks don’t develop a taste for  Impressionist landscapes.



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  1. Are they still expecting a spring reopening?

  2. Income Property Los Angeles

    I remember when there were giant lily pads there when I was a kid, and colocasia – I think it was. I was sad when they disappeared.

  3. ANT ECHO X PARK ORIGINAL DUCK…”love it or leave it”

  4. I think I speak for everyone when I say that these birds and their fully organic vegetarian diet and size 10 preening feathers are really what’s bringing this neighborhood down.

  5. Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful job!

  6. So are they going to bring that friendly goose back? What was its name? Maria?

  7. EP planners made a perfect choice by using Mr. McDonald to supply the Lotus. He has an outstanding reputation as a botanist. I have purchased from him for years. My ponds are stunning. I’m always impressed with the heartiness of his plants. Congrats! I can’t wait to see the new Lotus in bloom!

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