Los Angeles became the largest city in the country on May 4 to be certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a biodiversity haven. Residents registered 1,078 residential yards, 34 schools and 140 “common areas” for wildlife that cumulatively allowed the city to be certified.
“This certification celebrates the ongoing work of L.A. Sanitation and our city departments, our ecologist in planning, our city forest officer, our Expert Biodiversity Panel and all our local environmental organizations who labor every day to redirect the trajectory of Los Angeles from a city of concrete and conspicuous consumption toward a model urban city successfully co-existing and inextricably linked to the environmental health of its wildlife and natural areas,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, who authored motions to create the city’s biodiversity and wildlife corridor programs.
“The city of Los Angeles is proud to participate in the National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat Program and worked hard to become the largest certified city in the U.S.,” added Enrique C. Zaldivar, director and general manager of L.A. Sanitation and Environment. “We hope our success in this program will encourage Angelenos across the city to continue taking action in their yards, schools and workplaces to provide habitat for wildlife.”
To achieve citywide certification, Los Angeles encouraged residents, schools and organizations to apply for their own certification by gardening with wildlife in mind, using native plants and sustainable practices, providing cover and food, and reducing or eliminating the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Designing gardens and green spaces following those principles supports wildlife, restores connectivity and enhances climate resilience, according to the program.
“Even though it is the second largest city in the country, Los Angeles is home to a vast array of wildlife, including hundreds of bird species, coyotes, bobcats and even mountain lions, including the famous Hollywood cougar P-22. The city is making great strides to support wildlife conservation and biodiversity as they continue their work to build and track metrics with the L.A. City Biodiversity Index,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior director of community wildlife at the National Wildlife Federation.
For information about getting a home, school or business certified as a biodiversity haven, visit nwf.org/certify.
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