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Thanks for your interest in the City of LA's Team Effort! Together, we are all working towards cleaner neighborhoods and beaches.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stormwater 101

If you need a refresher course on the Los Angeles stormwater system, check out the Stormwater 101 article on "Your Daily Thread". Questions were answered by the L.A. Stormwater's own Joyce Amaro!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Angeleno Shares her Rainwater Harvesting Program Experience

by Sherri Akers

The keyword is “We”… the collaboration between the Mar Vista community and LA Stormwater set the bar for what is possible when the community gives up the ‘why don’t they…’ attitude and works with the city towards a greener LA!

The LA Rainwater Harvesting Program was an incredible example of what can be achieved when city government and grassroots community volunteers band together.

Mar Vista was thrilled to be selected to receive free rain barrels. We have a community that shares a passionate focus on conservation. The challenge wasn’t how to inspire people to want rain barrels, but rather how to get the word out most effectively so that we captured as many as possible!

Our stormwater runs directly out to Santa Monica Bay – we are painfully aware of the damage being done as our families are surfing and swimming in that water. This was our chance to make a difference – by capturing that ‘first flush’ of rain that hits our roofs and washes the toxic residue from plane and automobile exhaust directly into the bay. The added bonus was that the water we capture will be used in our gardens.

LA Stormwater truly partnered with us and this turned into a community based project where neighbors heard from neighbors. The launch was accelerated in order to start the campaign at the Wise Water Use Expo, which created a buzz. They loaned us a rain barrel which we lugged to our MVCC Green Booth at the Mar Vista Farmers Market every Sunday for several months. It was a show stopper! It was impossible for people to pass by without asking why we had a barrel. Every Sunday we had a new list of 25 to 50 neighbors eager to sign up for the program.

You just can’t underestimate the power of word of mouth within a community. We zone out from information overload. The conventional approach of bill inserts and news articles often gets lost in the noise. We have found that the Farmers Market has become our ‘town square’ and allowed us to become a small town.

The results? Mar Vista overwhelmingly captured the largest number of rain barrels in the program. Neighbors who missed out on the program are buying rain barrels from local, affordable resources like Rainbud. Many of us are adding more rain barrels – one family is up to five!

We will celebrate Earth Day this year by opening 79 drought resistant and edible gardens for the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase on April 25th – a free, self guided tour of gardens that are both water conserving and beautiful. And we are thrilled to say that a third of them have rain barrels!

Sherri Akers has a passion for learning how to conserve water and energy and sharing it with others. As Co-Chair of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) Green Committee, she has the good fortune of putting that passion into action. See what the MVCC is up to by visiting their blog: www.marvistagreengardenshowcase.com

Click here to view all of the articles in Issue 10 of the LA Stormwater newsletter.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reduce Your Dog's carbon paw-print? Yep, and even win a free prize!

So maybe your dog doesn’t leap through hoops and catch Frisbees six feet in the air, but that doesn’t mean your little friend can’t win a contest.

That’s right, and it’s even easier than training your dog to do fancy tricks. Just log on and join our Facebook page, if you have not done so already. Once you are there post on our wall and tell us how your cute pooch reduced his/her carbon paw-print. We’ll need all entries by March 31.

Here’s an example from one of our great fans, “For the Ultimate Eco-Dog Challenge, here's how Bentley is reducing his carbon paw print: He plays green with sustainable goodies! We try to buy earth-friendly pet care toys and products by checking the label to find out about the toy's origins and materials. We go for unbleached, non-toxic toys.”

The winner will walk away with a set of free dog training classes (there is still hope for your circus dog yet) provided by HDOC!

For some hints on what we are looking for and why this even matters (my dog has a carbon paw-print? Answer: yep), please visit here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Get Your Volunteer on for Clean Water!

Upcoming Events for March 2010:

For more info on these events, including time and location, please visit the embedded links or check out our calender.

>Come join the clean-up of Cienga Elementary School on Saturday, March 6. The event is sponsored by Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup, the nation's largest community improvement program. The event is part of the group’s annual clean-up from March 1 through May 31, involving an estimated 3 million volunteers and attendees.

>The Surfrider Foundation and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium are also putting their weight behind two events on Saturday, March 6. Surfrider volunteers will be tackling beach garbage in Venice and folks that volunteer for Cabrillo can weed and learn about native plants at their awesome native garden. There is also a cool TreePeople restoration event on Sunday, March 7 in Agora Hills.

>Later, during the second week of March, TreePeople will be hosting a Park Work Day in Beverly Hills on March 11 (if you can’t make it on the 11, chip in on the 18 or 25) and on Saturday the 13 they’ll be putting their muscle behind a mountain restoration gig in the glorious Topanga and Coldwater Canyons. And if you are up for double duty that weekend, join TreePeople for a project in Calabasas.

>Don’t think you can run a marathon? That’s okay, that doesn’t mean you can’t help out during the LA Marathon’s big day, which will happen on March 21. To be a volunteer attend a meeting on March 19 or 20 to bring your eco-skills to the mix.

>TreePeople will be at it again on March 20 in South L.A. to help an Eagle Scout add some green to the community. Heal the Bay will also be at it on the coast, doing a clean-up with volunteers at Dockweiler Beach.

>The Mayor (and the City) is calling on you to chip in on March 20 as well for a Day of Service. The LA Schools Day of Service is a day for Angelenos throughout the City to unite and share a day filled with service projects throughout local schools that will address school and community issues, as well as highlight the school's and community's assets. So learn a bit more about how you can get your hands dirty to make our city a little bit cleaner.

>March 21 (as noted) is marathon day in the sunny city we call Los Angeles. So if you attended one of those meetings, this will be your chance to put yourself to the test. Runners (and the environment) will thank you.

>Also on Sunday March 21, Heal the Bay will be embarking on work in Malibu Creek State Park as well as Santa Monica Mountains. So if marathons aren’t your thing, head to the hills!

>Brentwood residents will have a chance to plant trees with TreePeople on Saturday, March 27. The event will be part of an effort to plant 1 million trees in L.A. That means they need a lot of good folks on board to help out (hint, hint)!