3:50pm | The Long Beach Water Department celebrated today a new milestone, as the city has five hundred homeowners that have now completed Lawn-to-Garden projects, in which grass lawns are replaced with drought tolerant, native, nature-friendly landscapes. This peak -- which comprises of almost 11 acres (500,000 square feet) of grass lawn removed within the city -- makes Long Beach's turf removal program the most successful in the state.
The program, which was introduced last April, allows Long Beach residents to apply for rebates worth $2.50 per square foot of turf removed, with a set maximum of 1,000 square feet allowed per customer, or $2,500 total. Over 1,100 Long Beach property owners have now applied for the rebates since they were first made available. According to the Long Beach Water Department, the program will remain open to future applicants for the foreseeable future.
While the Long Beach Water Department provides the majority of the funding for the rebate program, 40 percent of the total funds are provided through a partnership with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD).
Annually, grass lawns require more than six times the amount of water as do drought tolerant landscapes, meaning that as additional Long Beach homes convert to drought tolerant landscapes, long-term water savings will also increase.
Current applicants and other interested customers can continue to read about the rebate program and California Friendly landscaping in general, by visiting www.lblawntogarden.com.
The 500th example of the Lawn-to-Garden program, before and after.
Team USA Swimmer and water conservation advocate Jessica Hardy speaks during a press conference for Long Beach's 500th lawn removal project.
Long Beach Vice-Mayor Suja Lowenthal speaks during a press conference held in front of 3910 N. Lime Avenue.
California Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal presents Frank Clarke, President of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners, with a Certificate of Recognition Wednesday
Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and California Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal onlooking the accomplishments of the Lawn-to-Garden program.
(left to right) Team USA Swimmer and water conservation advocate Jessica Hardy, President of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners Frank Clarke, and California Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal
Marianne Fried (center) stands besides her husband Dr. Stanley Fried outside their completed lawn-to-garden home.
Anna Bjornsdotter, a fellow Lawn-to-Gardner, admires the before and after photo shown at the top of this piece.
Kevin Wattier, General Manager of the Long Beach Water Department, speaks during the Wednesday press conference.