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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Questions Over Malibu Lagoon Project Arise Following Storms

BY BILL KOENEKER

Critics of the Malibu Lagoon restoration project descended on council chambers this week at a Malibu City Council meeting voicing a chorus of “I told you so.”
Activist and surfer Andy Lyon said after the first winter storms the proposed remedies for the lagoon have not happened and the restoration is anything but a fix.
“It is not going to be fixed. Nothing is going to go right,” he said. “The breach is going the wrong way. It opened wrong. Where are all of the new plants?”
 “The creek is not flowing into the lagoon channel and consequently the lagoon [water] is trapped and the water is stagnant,” he asserted.
He accused the council of “failing miserably” in their leadership role and that now the city is left with a failed project that is “off kilter and too late to fix.”
“I want to see you do something about this,” he said.
Another activist Wendy Werner agreed. “My focus is on water quality. There is water coming from Malibu Road. What is being discharged by Malibu?” she asked.
Werner described the results of the restoration as a disaster. “I'm glad the water board is going down there. The sediment is going into the channel. Why is there no monitoring on the eastern end for sediment? We found eight dead birds and very little plants,” she said.
Activist Hamish Patterson said he tried to be silent about the lagoon and see what would happen. “You don’t listen to the people who live here,” he said, while accusing city officials of too easily bending to outside forces.
State Parks official Craig Sap was called upon by council members to give his assessment of the status of the lagoon.
He said the final aspects of the restoration have been slowed down by the recent rains.
The State Parks spokesperson said they expected a 10 to 15 percent mortality for the native plants sown several months ago.
 “The problem with the natives is they grow slower. Some of those were just cuttings. We are not fully planted,” he added.
Councilmember John Sibert said he went down to look at the lagoon. “It does look pretty awful. What about Wendy's questions? Where do we get assurances?”
Sap tersely replied, “Call me.”
Councilmember Laura Rosenthal asked when the planting would be finished and was told by the end of January. “Don’t you have to be done by January?” Rosenthal asked.
Sap answered, “Yes.”
Rosenthal wanted to know if the water quality was being tested. Sap said, “I don’t know.”
Rosenthal told Sap she would appreciate it if the States Park official was coming to council sessions he would be prepared and bring information with him.
Councilmember Joan House wanted to know about breach management issues and how involved was the group. “That is separate from the lagoon issues,” he said.
Mayor Lou La Monte wanted to know if there was any monitoring on the eastern side and Sap told him he would need to find out about that.
City Manager Jim Thorsen said the city investigated the Malibu Road drain, which is pumped to Legacy Park for treatment. It is leaking water because of a pumping problem. “We think that is what is causing the overflow,” Thorsen said, adding repairs would be made to fix the leak.

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