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Berm Separating Malibu Lagoon From Ocean Opens, Releases Polluted Water

A California State Parks official said it is unclear if the sandy berm that holds the water inside the Malibu Lagoon was opened up naturally or through human efforts.

The berm separating the Malibu Lagoon from the ocean breached late Saturday, emptying polluted water into in Malibu, according to a California State Parks spokesman.

"The berm breached somehow, either naturally or mechanically," said Tom Dore, a State Parks public information officer for the Malibu Lagoon project.

Dore, who said he had not been down to the lagoon to see the breach, said he heard the lagoon had been nearly emptied.

In response to rumors surrounding the opening of the lagoon, Dore said State Parks is not responsible.

"State Parks would never do that. It’s an environmental crime," he said, adding that manually opening the lagoon would incur a fine.

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.

He added that the contractor built in several scenarios into the dewatering plan, and that the change in conditions will not require a new permit from the California Coastal Commission.

"It doesn’t stop anything. It moves us into open lagoon scenario for dewatering," Dore said. "We’ll give a call to the Coastal Commission, letting them know it happened. We don’t know how or why."

He said conditions were right for the berm to blow out early in the week when the project started because of an unusually high tide from the full moon. Those conditions were not present on Saturday night, he said.

Wendy Werner, an opponent of the project, said she and her husband went down to the lagoon to see the breach, and did not notice any signs warning swimmers to stay out of the ocean.

"We were down there telling people don’t go down to the water," Werner said.

She added that the stench of the lagoon was overpowering.

"It’s drained. It’s dried. It’s done. It’s disgusting," Werner said.

Werner said she was upset by the conditions, especially green slime in the middle of the lagoon.

"Shame on whoever did this. It had to have been done with heavy equipment," Werner said.

Hans Laetz June 11, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Posting court transcripts slanders Ms Hansom? Really? She said no judge in any court considered the shift of the timing of the project from winter to summer on the poor goby. I merely post the transcripts with the judge maling a fool of her attorney. Posting a transcript passes for assault here. Right, "Doctor". Look at that cute little bugger of the front page of the local newspaper. Ootchie cootchie cootchie!
Joseph Delano June 11, 2012 at 08:56 PM
That's enuf to gag a maggot....or in this case a Goby (whatever the hell that is) - let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya!
Joseph Delano June 11, 2012 at 11:19 PM
You nailed it Hans..........in today's upside/down world THE TRUTH or FACTS have become politically incorrect "hate speech." I think George Orwell made note of that.
Ben Marcus June 11, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I don't know if this is apropo of anything, but the tidewater goby population in Malibu Creek was disrupted and replaced in the past - as recently as 1991, after the bridge construction, I think. This is from a US Fish and Wildlife Service report called Recovery Plan for the Tidewater Goby. Maybe this isn't interesting, but I just like to post on Patch: "Two reintroductions of tidewater gobies were made in 1991, one to Waddell Creek and another into Malibu Creek. Both of these have been successful at least through the summer of 1996. Only 52 fish were placed in Malibu Creek and slightly over 200 at Waddell. In each case it is unlikely that all individuals were able to reproduce, so the founding populations were somewhat less. The Malibu Creek population has increased to several thousand individuals. Surveys in the Malibu Lagoon indicate that tidewater gobies were still present in 2004 (C. Swift pers. comm.. 2005). "
abbie June 12, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Why are there no warning signs - regarding the polluted water? What about the trafficlight cameras? Wouldn't they see who did it?
hellwood June 12, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Good question. maybe state parks doesnt want to bring any attention to the project? Another question is, why was the lifeguard on Sunday telling everybody that "its not that bad"? ....and the breach is too far away for surveillance cameras serving other purposes
John Coktostollen June 12, 2012 at 04:26 AM
The Rindge Dam really needs to be taken down. Its obviously the underlying issue here.
Ben Marcus June 12, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Rindge Dam is one of the issues in all this but if you think the Malibu Lagoon Restoration was an expensive hassle, displacing the sediment trapped behind Rindge Dam and taking down the dam and spillway will be much much more litigious and expensive. Tens of millions of dollars. It's not going to happen any time soon.
rich morrison June 12, 2012 at 04:38 AM
I have not heard one thing from the surfrider foundation on the malibu situation! you guys should be at the forefront of this issue, some one breaches the lagoon down by second point fucking up the surf again and sending toxic water into the sand and the surf break! you guys say nothing? a woman kills herself over getting harassed and heckled by opponents of the lagoon restoration project and you say nothing! you grabbed your name from the surf spot and you don't acknowledge or want to help! were are you at??? surf rider foundation? where do you stand I personaly would like to know! Im about to rip my surfrider foundation sticker off my car! you cannot hide from this bad situation in the hopes that it will go away! I know your intentions are good but you need to step in now and help!!! not hide. please take me off of the we are making things good emails you keep sending me!
rich morrison June 12, 2012 at 04:51 AM
So what Ben help make it happen quiter $$ slowly take it down, money should not be the issue, remove the top of the dam, then remove the middle, then the rest in three years! problem solved! to do nothing is so week and lame take action!!!! and do something! its called backbone! I hope I spelled something wrong. handel the whole fricken problem or leave it all alone............................
rich morrison June 12, 2012 at 04:54 AM
love you ben but lame!
Ben Marcus June 12, 2012 at 05:03 AM
I agree that segmentiing the spillway and/or the dam is the cheapest way to do it, but there is no way 800,000 to 1.6 million cubic yards of sediment is going to move downstream in three years. It took 40 years for all that sediment to accumulate. Malibu Creek doesn't flow hard enough to move that sediment three miles downstream - or however far it is from the dam to the Lagoon, and out to sea. Removing the dam is nothing. I think the A.C.E estimate for dam removal was around a million dollars in 1996. It's moving and/or removing all that sediment that's the problem, I wrote a book about Las Vegas that included a caption on the construction of the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas: "That process began by removing 1.2 million cubic yards of dirt to build a 60-foot-deep, 4,000 space subterranean parking garage: as many as 600 trucks a day, six days a week, for a total of 114,285 truck trips.” That 1.2 million cubic yards of sediment is halfway between the low and high prediction for what is trapped behind Rindge Dam – and the number of trucks it takes to move that much dirt. If you think people are freaking out about the truckloads of muck that will come out of Malibu Lagoon, imagine 114,285 truck trips down Malibu Canyon Road. They will never truck it out of there, so they will either have to dredge it out or let nature take its course. None will happen soon.
Alessandra DeClario June 12, 2012 at 06:17 AM
Joseph Delano 1:56 pm on Monday, June 11, 2012 That's enuf to gag a maggot....or in this case a Goby (whatever the hell that is) - let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya! Hans Laetz 1:56 pm on Monday, June 11, 2012 Posting court transcripts slanders Ms Hansom? Really? She said no judge in any court considered the shift of the timing of the project from winter to summer on the poor goby. I merely post the transcripts with the judge maling a fool of her attorney. Posting a transcript passes for assault here. Right, Doctor. Look at that cute little bugger of the front page of the local newspaper. Ootchie cootchie cootchie! - Posts like these only show the little boys in both of you.... shame on you both... for slandering life... to me slander is not what you guys think... it is bringing out negativity and slandering life itself..by making fun of the photo of the goby - which is a live creature doing what it is supposed to do - you are slandering the life of that goby... And after all this, if you really don't know what a goby is then look it up - duh!
Alessandra DeClario June 12, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Hans, I want to thank you because your posts made me realize that I have better things to do with my time. Like Hamish, I'm not going to let negativity bring me down! I have to admit that I am basically sick of reading your opinions... I met you and thought you really weren't that bad... but then you go ahead and continue to bring people down... bring out negativity... Not respecting life and just plowing though habitats is pretty lame - kinda unaware behavior. And making fun of others - or "bulling" is pretty immature! So you and Joseph Delano can hold hands and sing Kumbaya! Meanwhile, I'm going to create value and stay OFF this post! Here's Neil Young's words again - maybe you'll get it this time boys! "A little love and affection In everything you do Will make the world a better place With or without you." LOVE AND PEACE! OVER AND OUT!
rich morrison June 12, 2012 at 07:56 AM
Ben, who cares about soon! whats with the quik fix! it still needs to be done, if it takes 3 or 7 years and 1 million dollars to do it, a little at a time is good there is no such thing as a quick fix on a problem like this.
michael lynch June 12, 2012 at 04:30 PM
malibu vigilantes, american indians, lawsuits, counter lawsuits, demonstrations, pollution by the rich elite, surfers against surfers, late nite breaching, suicide.... this has all the makings of a shitty script.
hellwood June 12, 2012 at 06:03 PM
you should write the script! call it "Heal the Bay"
hellwood June 12, 2012 at 11:53 PM
hey Jon! You need to talk to your IT guy and ask him to check the IP's of all of these clowns with multiple accounts. I think you will be very surprised at who's IP's match. enough is enough. people are losing interest reading posts with people talking to themselves, and playing off their goofs with misspelling and poor grammar. Who is kidding who here?? It is insulting to those of us who know what is really going on, and its just ruining the Patch. Thx
Wendi Werner June 13, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Agreed. The greed of Heal the bay .
sean June 14, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Andy, "what is down in the mud" is malibu waste that Malibu has failed to address since its inception in 1991. Now the State has to clean-up, with no thank you. You admit to breaching the lagoon yourself and now you are blaming others for what you have done many times, and maybe you did it this time. No-one is falling for your double talk. And when this project is done, I hope that you are never allowed at the new and improved lagoon.
sean June 14, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Wendi, Heal the bay has done more for the environment than you will ever do in 100 lifetimes. The name of the script should be "Malibu Know-it All" starring you and hellwood's half-goat-tee.
steve dunn June 15, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Ha Sean I don't know where you come from? but do everyone a favor and go back !! Heal the bay has done some good things in the past..... but this is the present and they suck !!! they are behind all the FFFFF's that every city from orange county to santa barber have recived !!! didn't see you and your big mouth at the RWQCB meeting last week!!!! or the CCC meeting this week so like i said welcome to Malibu now go home .......and i really don't think your name is sean.......
Wendi Werner June 16, 2012 at 03:39 AM
That's why everyone calls them Steal the Bay or Deal the bay.?. I bet you are one of those blind followers who wants the seaweed raked off the beaches now. Right?
Cece Stein June 21, 2012 at 12:45 AM
I have one thing to say.... GO HANS!!!!!!!!!!
Wendi Werner June 21, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I have one thing to say.... GO DR. LONGCORE !!!! This gentleman nails it.
Cece Stein June 21, 2012 at 02:21 AM
The Surfside News is a poor example of a "newspaper". The biased and feeable attempt to report local issues, most notably the Lagoon restoration is a complete JOKE. Case in point, the exploitation of the mallard ducks "trying to cope with the destruction of their habitat" in a photo on the cover of this week's paper. Were they interviewed for this article? Did they express to the Surside News how hard it was to cope? Last week the Surfside News published a photo of lagoon opponents and a standing city council member putting up a "RIP S. GLAS" sign at the place where she stood one week before with her signs supporting the restoration. Stephenie's loved ones HAD NO IDEA who put up this sign, however the opposition took it upon themselves to contact the Surfside News instead of extending condolences to the family. The Surfside news made no attempt to contact Stephenie's family for the article but the article was chock full of quotes from the opposition, including a paragraph of psychological analyzation by someone who never met Stephenie and most certainly didn't know her. How convenient...and BIASED. Also, I have been informed recently by my media contacts at some of the largest news organizations of the "UNIBOMBER" style emails they are receiving from lagoon opponents after publishing articles that express the opinions of those in favor of the restoration. Thankfully they care about reporting facts and both viewpoints.
hellwood June 21, 2012 at 04:55 AM
actually, skylar put up the RIP sign. the opponents all thought it was in poor taste
Cece Stein June 21, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Wow. Thanks Hellwood. That's huge and good to know.
sean June 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM
All of this localism paints a pretty sorry picture of the malibu protesters. Now that your position has been shown to be scientifically and morally without foundation, all that is left is verbal attacks and blatant racism masked by love of malibu. Steve, I live in Malibu, however I consider all of the world as my home, and I care for all of its inhabitants, not just those in my backyard. Go ahead and call me big mouth, and ask me where i come from, this just shows everyone the type of people that make up the opposition to the lagoon.
Jason June 28, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Hate to burst your bubble Marcia, but you have it complete backwards. It is the strong winter waves that push the offshore sand high on the beach face creating a "winter berm". It is the quite summer waves that carry this sand back out ot sea. Take my word for it, I am a seasoned geologist who remembers what he learned in college geomorphology.

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