With an October deadline quickly approaching, the contractor for the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project is working extra hours to finish grading and other work, according to a California State Parks official.
According to the permits granted by the California Coastal Comission, the contractor, Ford E.C., Inc., has until Oct. 15 to finish up work in the wetlands area of the Malibu Lagoon.
"They are working extra hours to get caught up," said Craig Sap, district supervisor for the California State Parks Los Angeles District.
Sap said the contractor fell a little behind when plans for the controversial dewatering plan, which outlined the process and guidelines for pumping and treating water out of the lagoon and into the ocean at Surfrider Beach, were delayed a month.
"They have to be done by Oct. 15, but in reality they are taking the dike down by Oct. 2, so they have to finish all that grading," Sap said.
Sap said the project is on schedule to finish by December.
Over the past month, the contractor has constructed bird islands, which are already being used by wildlife. Work is nearly complete on the new public access path and other "interpretive features," according to Sap.
A dike constructed to separate the lagoon channels from the main body of the lagoon is slated to be taken down in early October, but first a subcontractor will reintroduce native plants to the area so they can take root.
"They’ve got to do some planting and work within that area. It’s separated from the main channel. They’re trying to get all this done before the dike comes down," Sap said.
Some of the plants that will be reintroduced were salvaged from the lagoon, including Jaumea Carnosa, a succulent-like plant that is able to tolerate brackish water, said Karen Flagg, head restoration ecologist at Santa Barbara-based Growing Solutions.
According to Sap, other plants that are indigenous to the Malibu area will also be planted.
"They know from sampling that at time they were there," Sap said.
As the grading winds down, Sap said more material will be trucked off the site.
Once work begins on the deconstruction of the dirt dike, Sap said the material will be hauled off the site as well.
"That’s the material that will be hauled off," Sap said.
Andy Lyon, who has been an active critic of the Malibu Lagoon project, said at a recent Malibu City Council meeting that he was concerned the dirt being used for the public access trail had not been tested.
Sap said the material used for the dike and the public access way was not toxic.
"There’s no toxic materials. It’s all organic. Once it dried out, it becomes inert or any other chemical compound. They become not an issue. They’ve done testing and there is nothing contaminated," Sap said.
Malibu Patch will have more on the project, especially the interpretive features, in the coming weeks as it begins to wrap up. Make sure to check back for updates and post your questions about the project in the comment section below.