Thursday, January 19, 2012

Malibu Lagoon: Coastal Commission met with protest

The powerful California Coastal Commission visited Malibu last Thursday, touring several beach properties that have caused controversy over public access and dominate the statewide perception of the commission's relationship with Malibu. But it was a stop at the site of the issue most talked about locally, the Malibu Lagoon restoration project, that generated the most heat when commissioners were met at the lagoon by about 30 indignant protesters, who carried signs and pointedly questioned the logic behind the project. - Malibu Times

The commission, touring by bus, was scheduled to spend 45 minutes at the lagoon but arrived late and left after only 20 minutes for lunch with Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy head Joe Edmiston at Ramirez Canyon Park. Whether the presence of the protesters affected that timetable is unclear, but it was a tense atmosphere as Suzanne Goode, senior resource ecologist for California State Parks, gave a talk recounting the history of the lagoon and the proposed restoration efforts while surrounded by protesters.

Goode, one of the designers of the restoration project, described the current lagoon as “essentially a dead zone,” with low levels of oxygen in the water that were harmful to birds and fish. She called the present configuration of the lagoon, which was restored in 1983, unnatural, and said the reshaped lagoon would have better water circulation, which would scour out excess mud in the back of the lagoon and raise the low levels of oxygen in the water.

Goode drew boos from the protestors when she defended the use of bulldozers to reshape the lagoon channels....

Vaill said that Assembly candidate Torie Osborn had said she would stand with him in front of the bulldozers on June 1, when the project is set to begin. Osborn is running for election in the new state Assembly district that includes Malibu.

David Jacobson, a representative of Osborn, confirmed on Monday that if a “time-out” is not taken to review the science used in the original Environmental Impact Report for the project, Osborn would stand in front of the bulldozers on June 1.

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