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Questions Remain Over Opening of Malibu Lagoon

Several opponents of the Malibu Lagoon restoration project have called for answers about the opening of the berm separating the lagoon from the ocean.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was not able to determine how the berm separating the Malibu Lagoon from the ocean was breached over the weekend, a California State Parks official said Monday.

“It’s pretty much impossible to track,” said Tom Dore, a public information officer for California State Parks.

Dore added that Fish and Wildlife officials came out to see what impact the opening of the lagoon had on the fish and other wildlife.

“We have found no fish,” Dore said. “They have been swept out into the ocean or they went up stream.”

He said oxygen measurements were taken at the lagoon Monday.

“The oxygen levels currently are such that they could not sustain fish life,” Dore said.  

Dore said he expects the sandbar that separates the lagoon from Surfrider Beach to close naturally in the next few days.

The project's contractor, Ford E.C., Inc., has been preparing to put in a dike separating the main body of the Malibu Lagoon from the channels in order to drain the water through a process called dewatering.

Dore said that the dewatering plan accounted for the change in conditions.

“We didn’t plan on being at this point right now. This is where we would be once the dewatering started,” Dore said.

Craig Sap, District Superintendent for Los Angeles District, said State Parks plans to keep an open investigation into the breach.

He said the dewatering plan is still in draft form because the conditions at the lagoon changed, and the plan could be available to the public as early as Friday.

"They want to make sure it is correct," Sap said.

The Malibu City Council has requested a copy of the plan from the California Coastal Commission through a public records request.

City Manager Jim Thorsen said the city met with State Parks 10 days ago to talk about the dewatering plan.

“We’re hoping to get the dewatering plan because we want to review it,” Thorsen said.

At the Malibu City Council meeting on Monday, several Malibu residents and activists asked for an investigation into the breach of the berm.

“Was this an environmental crime or an act of nature?” said former Malibu City Council candidate Missy Zeitsoff.

Andy Lyon of Malibu said he is being blamed for breaching the lagoon.

"How the hell did they breach it with all the rangers in town," Lyon said.

steve dunn June 15, 2012 at 04:51 AM
They are all corrupt and so many people know it. All you have to do is go to a regional water board meeting and you will see how they have hijacked the communities up and down the coast.
Tommy Nefcy June 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Steve Dunn, Correct, I do not live in Malibu but I do have a say. And, unfortunately for you, because you refused to clean up the Lagoon for 30 years, you lost your say. Because people like you, Steve, refused to act, and it was anticipated that lawsuits and protests to political leaders would follow as sure as the brushfire season follows the rain season, the project was structured in such a way as to ensure local politicos could not stop it and had no control over the funding. And speaking of the funding, at what point did this become a socialist state where everyone works for free? Truck drivers get paid, bulldozer operators get paid, project engineers get paid, state employees get paid, project managers get paid, equipment rental companies get paid. Where is this “corruption” you keep yapping about? People are not being bought to support this project and to imply otherwise by lobbing “corruption” accusations is just another looser way of disparaging the hard work of others you seem to disagree with. You should knock that crap off, Steve, and get down there and volunteer to help with the project now that it has started.
steve dunn June 19, 2012 at 01:14 AM
@Tom, Read Dr. Longcore's letter. Did not see you at the regional water board meeting on the natural bacteria standards that are impossible to comply with. City engineer after city engineer from Orange County to Santa Barbara all stated the same fact. The standards set for 'natural bacteria' can not be at ZERO limits. None of these cities can comply because it is a scam and you bought into it.
Athena Shlien June 20, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I think Sean Berquist needs to start approaching the pollution at the source. Starting at the bottom doesn't make sense. KIlling native Sycamore trees doesn't make sense. This project makes dollars and cents and that is the only logic behind it.
Ted Vaill June 20, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Round up the usual suspects re the midnight breach of the berm...

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