Native Habitat: Preserving the Wetlands of the World

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EcoJustice RadioWetlands and their protection and restoration benefit the ecosystem by providing wildlife habitat, ensure coastal protection & clean water.

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Banning Ranch Conservancy, wetlandsWetlands are vital to our existence and benefit the ecosystem at large by providing essential habitat for countless species of birds, fish and mammals, slowing water flows, reducing soil erosion, storing water, recharging groundwater, aiding nutrient cycling, and mitigating floods. Host Carry Kim will be interviewing John Villa, Executive Director of the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy [http://hbwetlands.org/index.php], on the Orange County Coast of California. He is working with local, state and federal agencies and property owners to acquire, restore and manage the coastal wetlands in the coastal zone.

Forming some of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, including salt marshes, seagrass beds and mangroves, roughly 40% of the world’s species depend upon wetlands for sustenance and shelter, rest stops during long migrations or as breeding grounds. It is estimated that more than 25% of all wetlands plants and animals are at risk of extinction. Some studies calculate wetland loss rates in California at a staggering 90%. The La Cienega Wetland Complex has been compromised by urbanization, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, by agriculture and flood protection, the San Pablo Bay, by gold mining and diking, and the Central Valley by turning floodplains into farmland.

Urban development and corresponding infrastructure, oil extraction, groundwater withdrawals, and pollution can all erode wetlands that might include vernal pools, riparian habitat, and coastal wetlands. At the time of Spanish colonization, it is estimated that roughly 7 million acres of vernal pools once existed in California; today less than 13% remain.

In a 2018 article, the UN Climate Change News stated that wetlands, essential regulators of global climate, are disappearing three times faster than forests. The urgency continues for us to preserve Nature’s delicate balance and the remaining wetlands of the world. Listen to John Villa, Executive Director of the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy share his insights about the essential value and urgent need to protect local and global wetlands.

John Villa has an MBA with an emphasis in Technology Management. The Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy is a non-profit founded in 1985 with the goal of acquiring, restoring, and protecting the coastal wetlands on the Orange County coast for future generations. The Huntington Beach Wetlands is part of a system that once spanned nearly 3,000 acres; a precious 180 acres now remain in southeast Huntington Beach, where the Santa Ana River meets the Pacific Ocean.

He is also the appointed Commissioner for the Huntington Beach Public Works Department, and Board Member for Visit HB, Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce, Huntington Beach Council on Aging, and the Orange County River Park Group.

Listen to our related show on The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center from earlier this year: https://soundcloud.com/socal350/caught-in-the-crossfire-rehabilitating-releasing-native-wildlife

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Hosted by Carry Kim
Intro by Jessica Aldridge
Engineer and Original Music: Blake Quake Beats
Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Episode 138
Photo credit: Banning Ranch Conservancy

Updated 22 June 2022

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist and designer, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Partners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt