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Restoration & Environmental Stewardship 

The original people of the land that is now called Willow Springs Park are the Tongva. The Tongva are the first to live here, create here, build a relationship with and care for the land, and so much more. Indigenous peoples’ knowledge of land management is rooted in hundreds of years of direct experience and interaction with plants, animals, and the environment. Today, the Tongva and Indigenous people globally continue to tend to the environment, harvest what they need, as well as protect what is in danger.  

The Office of Sustainability restores Willow Springs Park in partnership with the Parks, Recreation and Marine Department. At the time of its opening in 2017, the 12-acre Wetland Restoration Project area within the 48-acre park included degraded coastal sage scrub and riparian habitat. Approximately 200 native riparian trees and 6,440 native drought-tolerant plants were planted onsite. Native plants, such as sagebrush, buckwheat, golden bush, and mule fat are now thriving and continue to take back the land from the invasive plants that previously dominated the landscape. Learn more about flora and fauna at the park here.  

The restoration efforts at Willow Springs Park have not only had a positive impact on the presence of native species, but also improved local water quality and supply. One acre of the project includes restored seasonal wetlands that provide many environmental benefits, such as water-quality improvement, erosion control, flood abatement, and habitat enhancement. The restoration area also includes vernal pools and bioswales, vegetated shallow depressions that capture and filter stormwater runoff, as well as a water-retention basin that has diverted 33.8 million gallons of water from the Los Angeles River since 2017. The Office of Sustainability and its partners hope to expand Willow Springs Park and the Wetland Restoration Area to further accommodate recreational activities and a growing, diverse native habitat.   

Willow Springs Park restoration area then and now

Interpretive signs at Willow Springs Park (2017).

Interpretive signs at Willow Springs Park surrounded by lush native plants, a flowering California goldenbush in the foreground (2021).

Outdoor classroom area at Willow Springs Park (2017).
Outdoor classroom area at Willow Springs Park (2021). 
 Interpretive signs in the shade of a pepper tree (2017).
Intrerpretive signs in the shade of a pepper tree surrounded by California goldenbush and coyote brush (2021).