A rare plant and a renegade environmental activist could derail Ballona Wetlands restoration

With his long ponytail, floppy sun hat and a peace symbol dangling from his neck, retired federal biologist Robert “Roy” van de Hoek looks like a man bent on saving the environment.

And when he’s crawling through a hole in the fence to sneak into the Ballona Wetlands, it’s clear he’s intent on doing it on his own terms.

He has, after all, released parasitic native plants into the park in a personal strategy to battle flora he considers invasive. And van de Hoek, 60, has faced vandalism charges and a temporary ban from Ballona for taking pruning shears to other plants he believed were crowding out rare native species.

His renegade approach has earned him accolades and adversaries in environmental circles — in part because of his passion, and because sometimes he gets results.

Read entire article at: LATimes.com