The Urban Wildlands Group

The Urban Wildlands Group is dedicated to the protection of species, habitats, and ecological processes in urban and urbanizing areas.

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El Segundo Blue Butterfly


The Urban Wildlands Group has worked to preserve and restore habitat for the federally endangered El Segundo blue butterfly through several projects. These include restoration of habitat in Torrance for the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, the Beach Bluffs Restoration Project, protecting the El Segundo dunes at LAX from inappropriate landscaping, and setting out a vision for the El Segundo dunes at LAX. We have also developed a Safe Harbor Agreement to facilitate restoration of El Segundo blue butterfly habitat on private property.

Resources and News

July 19, 2007 -- Columnist Paul Silva of The Beach Reporter offered a moving endorsement of the resurgence of the El Segundo blue butterfly.

July 9, 2007 -- The El Segundo blue butterfly has colonized habitat restored by UWG in Torrance and the Beach Bluffs Restoration Project in Torrance and Redondo Beach. Coverage started with the Los Angeles Times and continues with the Daily Breeze. Science Director Travis Longcore describes the project in this video produced by USC.

City agrees to craft new LAX overhaul (Los Angeles Times, 12/2/05) -- LAX agrees to "spend $3 million to remove abandoned asphalt streets on the dunes west of the airport and replace them with native plants" as part of legal settlment with opponents of airport expansion. Extensive technical comments on the environmental documentation for the proposed expansion plan prepared by Dr. Travis Longcore and Catherine Rich (commissioned by the City of El Segundo in 2001 and the County of Los Angeles in 2003) provided a comprehensive assessment of the adverse biological impacts of the original plan and provided part of the basis for the legal challenge.

UWG letter to California Coastal Commission on federal consistency determination for LAX expansion plan (11/13/04)

UWG Vision for El Segundo dunes at LAX (8/4/03)

Federal funds go to nature groups (Daily Breeze, 5/4/01)

Plant-life dispute blooms at airport: environmentalist sees exotic plants at LAX as threat to survival of endangered butterfly (Los Angeles Times, 4/24/95)

Reversing the sands of time: in an attempt to re-create a long-gone coastal prairie, workers and volunteers begin planting native grasses on a patch of the El Segundo dunes (Los Angeles Times, 11/26/93)

Scientific Articles

Mattoni, Rudi, Travis Longcore, Cor Zonneveld, and Vojtech Novotny. 2001. Analysis of transect counts to monitor population size in endangered insects: the case of the El Segundo blue butterfly, Euphilotes bernardino allyni. Journal of Insect Conservation 5(3):197-206.

Mattoni, Rudi, Travis Longcore, and Vojtech Novotny. 2000. Arthropod monitoring for fine-scale habitat analysis: a case study of the El Segundo sand dunes. Environmental Management 25(4):445-452.

Longcore, Travis, Rudi Mattoni, Gordon Pratt, and Catherine Rich. 2000. On the Perils of Ecological Restoration: Lessons from the El Segundo Blue Butterfly. Pp. 281-286 in Keeley, Jon, Melanie Baer-Keeley, and C. J. Fotheringham, eds. 2nd Interface Between Ecology and Land Development in California, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-62, Sacramento, CA .

Mattoni, Rudi. 1992. The endangered El Segundo blue butterfly. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 29(4):277-304.