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Malibu Lagoon Restoration Update
July 26, 2012 -
PHOTO BY L. PROTOPAPADAKIS / LIGHTHAWK
An aerial view of the restoration work underway at Malibu Lagoon
The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation (SMBRF) finds that good things are happening at the Malibu Lagoon.
It reports that hundreds of small mammals and lizards were relocated to safe habitat on site, thanks to the diligent work of biologists and equipment operators.
Vegetation has been largely removed, except for plants around six duck nests that are being protected until the young have fledged and the mothers no longer use the nests. Five other nests that were also protected onsite, where young successfully fledged, have already been abandoned, with no impacts to the birds that were using them.
According to project biologists:
Thousands of cubic yards of soils have been moved from the lagoon channels, and we have found virtually no life in them. There were very few clams, no worms, insect larvae, or any of the aquatic invertebrates that we would normally expect to see living in a wetland. As expected, the channel sediments were nearly devoid of fauna due to poor conditions.
Where soils have been removed we are starting to uncover the historic wetlands, i.e. previously buried wetlands habitat, identified by naturally deposited alluvial soils (sand and gravels). Its very exciting to unearth the real Malibu Lagoon and to know that it will be brought back to life and allowed to thrive once again. In the process, lots of trash has been removed: chunks of asphalt and concrete, discarded telephone poles, truck tires, plastic debris, old pipeall dumped over the last hundred years and burying the original wetlands.
The Army Corps of Engineers has initiated a new consultation with USFWS to determine whether these areas actually do provide the constituent elements of critical snowy plover habitat. Until then no work is occurring within these areas. We [the Foundation] very much appreciate the Corps and USFWS working with us in a timely manner to protect sensitive species while we continue to clean up and repair the damaged habitats at the Lagoon.
An Enforcement Supervisor from the California Coastal Commission visited the Lagoon on June 20, 2012, to perform an inspection. The Supervisor provided a detailed account of his inspection and found that State Parks is meeting all permit requirements and conditions. He also stated his opinion that the breach of the sand berm at Surfrider Beach was likely caused by natural conditions including high water levels coupled with tide/wave/wind action. Read KPCCs account of the project so far and see the letter from the Coastal Commission at: scpr.org/blogs/environment/2012/06/25/6779/coastal-commission-stands-behind-malibu-lagoon-res.