OXFORD BASIN Habitat Beautification – Marina del Rey Basin
OXFORD BASIN – Open Spaces in Marina del Rey with Highest Potential for Habitat Improvement
The Oxford Basin covers 10.7 acres on the north side of Marina del Rey (see Figures 3–3, 3–9). Its resources have never been adequately studied or assessed, though an early bird survey (1978–79) documented foraging by the endangered California Least Tern, and recent surveys (by the authors) indicate still-high usage by waterfowl in winter. The basin is brackish, fed by both storm drains and by a tide gate/culvert from the Marina del Rey basins, and is best considered “muted-tidal” (some tidal action, but never completely drains). Apparently a relict of the larger Ballona/Venice marshes, a narrow band of native saltmarsh vegetation (visible in Figure 6–1) has developed along its edges. Restoration that includes shallow-water wetland and coastal scrub communities would significantly improve both water quality and habitat conditions for wildlife in the marina. It would also greatly improve wildlife-viewing opportunities in the area; a very popular bike path runs along the eastern edge of the site, and hundreds of visitors a day could enjoy a restored Oxford Basin. Conservation & Management Plan, Marina del Rey Hamilton Biological, Inc.
Oxford Basin is an important foraging area for locally-nesting herons and egrets, and small flocks of waterfowl winter on the lagoon (November–March), especially American Wigeon (Anas americana) and Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis). Landbird usage is light due to dominance of dense, non-native vegetation, but songbirds overwinter at the site and also occur during migration. While it is recognized that no other site in Marina del Rey has the potential to support significant usage by the “target species” and “local interest species” identified in this plan, all efforts to enhance habitat at Oxford Basin shall be coordinated with the LACFCD and shall not in any way compromise the operation of the basin as a flood control facility.
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