Matilija Poppy - A California Native Showstopper;
photo courtesy Theodore Payne Foundation
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
April 23, 2018
Being Hospitable to
Nature (and Sheep)
Metropolitan has a soft side for desert bighorn sheep. We do, after all, share some common space in the desert at our pump plants and in the terrain surrounding the Colorado River Aqueduct. 

Even though Metropolitan is encouraging the reduction of lawn irrigation to promote conservation, the agency was also sensitive to the needs of the desert bighorn sheep and their reliance on desert patches of green. 

For that reason, Met’s environmental specialists got involved when there were discussions about letting the lawn at the village of Hinds Pumping Plant go dry. They worked out a plan to maintain an area of the lawn for the herd of desert bighorn sheep who commonly forage there.

Met’s concern for the desert wildlife extends beyond the bighorn sheep. In the spring and summer of 2016, two wildlife guzzlers were installed along the Colorado River Aqueduct to provide a water source outside the canal fence line. These artificial watering holes are intended to reduce the number of wildlife that slip into the canal in search of water.

WSO is also investigating the purchase of solar-powered pumps to modify the existing watering system that pulls water from the canal into a trough where wildlife can safely drink.
Summer is Perfect Time to Transform Landscape
Southern Californians who want to swap out their thirsty lawns for gardens with water-efficient, native plants will have even more reason to do so, starting this summer. That’s thanks to a new turf removal program approved by Metropolitan’s board of directors this month.

Under the new Landscape Transformation Program, Metropolitan will offer a rebate of $1 per sq. ft. of turf removed. Some member agencies also offer rebates which can be combined with the new program.

During the drought earlier this decade, as part of the nation’s largest water conservation program, Met’s popular turf removal rebate spurred the removal of 160 million sq. ft. of grass. Since the program ended in 2015, Met staff have been working with member agencies to create an even more effective program.

Under the new program, homeowners will need to remove turf from their front yard. Why? Part of the success is the multiplier effect. Neighbors see other neighbors replace their grass with colorful California native plants, and the beauty, birds and butterflies these new gardens attract - and often want to do the same.

The program will provide rebates for up to a maximum of 1,500 sq. ft. of turf removed. It requires a landscape plan with a watershed approach, efficient irrigation, and a certain number of water-saving plants and mulch coverage. The program begins July 1 and info will be available at .
Robert Luna Continues a Legacy of Service
For Robert Luna, putting service to his country, his community, his family and his job only begins to tell his multifaceted life story.

Robert enlisted in the Navy in 1978 because he loved his country and wanted to serve. After 12 years in the Navy, he joined the Army National Guard where he continued to serve before retiring after 35 years of military service. 

During his military career, Robert served his country with honor and bravery. He was called to action close to home, during emergencies like the Los Angeles riots, the aftermath of the Northridge earthquake and during the San Diego fires. He was also deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Panama (as part of Special Forces), and to Iraq where he served as a combat mechanic and was awarded a Bronze Star. Robert and his eight-man crew repaired vehicles damaged by IEDs in the middle of battle to return them to service. 

Before coming to Met in 2007 as an O&M tech, Robert worked for the city of Monterey Park for 22 years. He is married to Nancy Luna, who works in Metropolitan’s Real Property group.

Day to day, Robert utilizes his military training to quickly assess needed repairs to the conveyance system at Metropolitan’s Lake Mathews facility. “There’s not a lot that I can’t fix with my two hands,” he says. Outside of work, Robert keeps his hands busy with his hobby of building RC cars from scratch. 

Thank you for your service, Staff Sergeant Luna .
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