Ruth Lansford (Founder)


Ruth Lansford was raised in Long Island, New York where she lived next to wetlands. She moved to Playa del Rey in the early 1960s where she found she was once more neighbor to a wetland. After heirs of Howard Hughes’ estate announced development plans in the wetlands, Ms. Lansford formed the Friends of Ballona Wetlands in 1978. The Friends fought the proposed development but the California Coastal Commission approved it.

Then in 1984 the Friends, led by a determined Ms. Lansford, filed suit. After more than 6 years in litigation and negotiation, a settlement was reached with the subsequent landowner (Maguire Thomas) which preserved 340 acres of wetland and surrounding habitat.

The Friends continued to push for more acreage to be saved, and in 2003 the State purchased the remaining Ballona acres west of Lincoln from Playa Vista.

For Ruth Lansford’s  outstanding efforts over 3 decades to preserve and protect the Ballona Wetlands, in 2006 she won the prestigious National Citizen Planner of the Year award from the American Planning Association (APA), having won the state award in 2005.

She also received the 2007 City of Angeles Award from the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Renew America 8th Annual Award for Environmental Sustainability.

Ruth is Vice President of the Obregon Medal of Honor Foundation which has erected a Wall of Honor at Father Serra Park at El Pueblo in downtown Los Angeles listing all recipients of the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest military award.  The organization is now fundraising for the final phase of the monument: a statue that will depict Pfc.Eugene Obregon, USMC, MOH, who saved the life of a fellow Marine, killing 22 North Korean soldiers and holding off an enemy attack until he was killed. On its base, the statue of Obregon will contain the names of the 59 Latino American Medal of Honor recipients, an extraordinary number in proportion to the number who served.

Friends of Ballona Wetlands