Friday, March 5, 2010

Saturday event:Endangered butterflies released into San Pedro park and nature center

Los Angeles County Paris and Recreation Department:

Contact: Joyce Fitzpatrick

Public Information Assistant

(626) 673-0673


Imee Perius

Public Information Officer

(213) 216-6350




Stephanie Weagley

Public Affairs

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Phone: 760-431-9440


(ext. 210)













(SAN PEDRO, CA) – Los Angeles County Supervisor, Don Knabe in conjunction with Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will release endangered Palos Verdes blue butterflies into the restored coastal sage scrub habitat at the beautiful Deane Dana Friendship Community Regional Park and Nature Center, on March 6, 2010, at 8:30 a.m., located at 1805 W. 9th Street, San Pedro, CA 90732.


The Palos Verdes blue butterfly is a small, colorful, thumbnail-sized butterfly that was federally listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1980. It survives on pockets of habitat within highly urbanized southern California located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County—the only place where the species is found.


By 1983, biologists feared the Palos Verdes blue butterfly had become extinct when habitat supporting the only known population was developed. After years of conducting annual surveys, researchers could not locate the Palos Verdes blue butterfly; approximately ten years later, a small population was discovered at Defense Fuel Support Point San Pedro. As a result of this discovery, many partnerships have been formed to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recovery this endangered species. The release of the butterfly back into the wild represents the achievements made from numerous collaborative efforts over the years. These efforts include the restoration of native habitat, raising butterflies in a Captive Rearing Program, and releasing them back to sites within its former range.


The Palos Verdes blue butterfly was listed as an endangered species due to threats from habitat destruction through development, weed management practices , and non-native plant invasion. Today, non-native weed invasion and the lack of host plants available on restorable habitat continue to threaten the survival of the butterfly. Therefore, habitat restoration in conjunction with planting butterfly host plants – ocean locoweed and deerweed, is necessary prior to an effective butterfly reintroduction.


Palos Verdes blue butterflies do not currently occur at Friendship Park, but were historically known to exist here and last observed in 1981. Until recently, the only known population of Palos Verdes blue butterflies occurs at the U.S. Navy Defense Fuel Support Point site in San Pablo, CA, on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, approximately 2.2 miles north of Friendship Park. 


In 1995, as part of the original development plan for the nature center, the Department of Parks and Recreation coordinated with the California Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a habitat restoration component for the endangered Palos Verdes blue butterfly which had historic sightings at the Park. A re-vegetation program of native plant materials was incorporated into the overall landscape plan encompassing 8 acres of habitat dispersed throughout the Park. These 8 acres were identified as key restoration areas. With the help of Sapphos Environmental, Inc. and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, the installation of coastal sage scrub, ocean locoweed, and deerweed began in 2006, taking approximately three years to complete. Ultimately, an additional 26 acres of non-native grassland is expected, to be converted to coastal sage scrub as funding becomes available.

 In January 2010, the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office issued a Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) between the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This 30-year agreement ensures a restoration of a minimum of 8 acres of habitat with potential conservation efforts connecting most remnant patches of native vegetation in the Deane Dana Friendship Community Regional Park for the federally endangered Palos Verdes blue butterfly. This is the only SHA for the butterfly.


“This Safe Harbor Agreement will provide for the restoration, enhancement, and management of important habitat for the butterfly within Deane Dana Friendship Community Regional Park,” said Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office. “Combined with the butterfly release, it will help achieve the long-term recovery goals for the Palos Verdes blue butterfly in the wild.”


Deane Dana Friendship Community Regional Park and Nature Center is a 123 acre natural area park located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and owned by the County of Los Angeles. The park offers dramatic panoramic views of Catalina Island, Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors, the city of Los Angeles to the north, and the San Bernardino Mountain ranges. Several hiking trails wind you through restored Coastal sage scrub habitat along the wind blown hillsides. Additionally, two ADA-accessible buses take patrons to the popular Vista point trailhead and the beautiful 4,000 square foot nature center features a natural history museum, indoor and outdoor classrooms and live animal displays. Also, a sheltered picnic area, barbecues and playground overlook the harbor providing a scenic stop for lunch or planned special event.


In the event of rain, the release ceremony will NOT take place but a celebration ceremony will take place inside the Deane Dana Friendship Park Nature Center.


For more information please contact the park office at: (310) 519-6115


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