April 3, 2023: South Bay Parkland Conservancy with Jim Montgomery and Jim Light
Since 2004, the South Bay Parkland Conservancy (SBPC) has been committed to preserving open space and creating more parks in the coastal cities of the South Bay. Jim Light, SBPC President, and Jim Montgomery, SBPC Esplanade Bluff Restoration Project Lead, will provide an overview of the numerous habitat restoration projects and educational activities the organization currently leads along with a detailed presentation on the Esplanade Bluff Restoration Project in Redondo Beach. The goals of this project are to increase the ecological value of the beach bluffs by restoring native vegetation, increase recreational value by providing stewardship opportunities for restored bluffs, and provide a public education program about the beach bluffs and their coastal environment. Habitat restoration results from numerous SBPC-led, volunteer community restoration events over the last year will be shown.
Bio for Jim Montgomery
From an early age; the forest, creeks, beach, and lake near Jim’s home were his playground and instilled in him a love for the rich biodiversity of life with which we all share this planet. The wonder of the dark night sky overhead, brilliant with stars, planets, and the Milky Way Galaxy, filled him with awe and a desire to explore the Universe and understand our place in it.
It was the Ballona Wetlands in the 1990s that first spurred Jim to help protect our limited open spaces in the LA area when he learned about a proposal by Dreamworks SKG and Playa Capital to build massive developments in Ballona Wetlands. Jim volunteered with Citizens United to Save All of Ballona (CUSAB), a coalition of groups dedicated to “protect, restore and maintain the entire Ballona wetlands ecosystem and surrounding undeveloped open space in a natural and self-sustaining state.” In 2003, after years of activism, CUSAB and other partners were able to get 640 acres protected from development. This experience taught him that when the community comes together in common purpose with persistence, we can achieve great things.
Jim joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2000. All of the missions JPL performs, here on Earth and throughout the solar system, drive home to him how fragile and precious with a rich biodiversity of life – our pale blue dot is (as Dr. Carl Sagan once referred to our home planet). It is that rich biodiversity that Jim feels obligated and honored to be able to nurture, protect and hopefully help to expand and flourish for the benefit of all life.
Jim Light is a founding board member and former President of SBPC. He served as an Air Force officer working on the Space Shuttle, and a variety of launch and satellite systems and continues to work in the aerospace industry as an engineer.
A former member of the South Bay Surfrider Foundation Chapter, Jim led a paddle-out to preserve Ballona Wetlands, performed water quality testing, conducted research dives, and served as the project manager for the Pratt’s Reef project.
In his work with SBPC, Jim has been active in many projects including the Desal Powow, leading community discussions on a variety of topics, and participating in the rewilding of Wilderness Park. Jim is currently working with Redondo Beach staff to contribute to grant proposals for parkland acquisition and wetlands and habitat restoration at the power plant site and nearby power line right of way property.