Coastal Commission Hearing Set on Revocation of Malibu Lagoon Permit

California Coastal Commission staff has recommended denial of the revocation request at the hearing next week in Santa Cruz, but opponents of the project plan to present photographic evidence and other testimony they believe could sway the commission.

The California Coastal Commission will consider a request to revoke a permit for the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project at its meeting next week in Santa Cruz.

The meeting is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8 at the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chambers at 701 Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.

The Wetlands Defense Fund, led by Marcia Hanscom, and the Coastal Law Enforcement Action Network (CLEAN), led by Roy van de Hoek, filed the request on June 14 with the commission.

“We are so grateful to the Coastal Commission staff for granting this hearing, and we look forward to going to Santa Cruz to seek sanity to be returned to the protection of our California coast,” Hanscom said in a statement.

Under state law, a permit can be revoked if the application for the permit included inaccurate, erroneous or incomplete information.

According to a report, Coastal Commission staff recommended denial of the revocation request because of a lack of evidence showing any wrongdoing.

Hanscom said she believes photographic images and testimony from Malibu residents and leaders could sway the commission.

“More than half of the commission is new since the October 2010 approval of the project,” Hanscom said, adding that she is hoping Malibu leaders can make it up to Santa Cruz.

The groups also allege that the Costal Commission did not adequately weigh the impacts to the endangered tidewater goby when it originally issued the permit.

The report states the Coastal Commission had the correct information when it issued the permit. 

“No evidence was presented showing that the applicant submitted inaccurate, erroneous, or incomplete information of the sort,” according to the report.

The hearing was set to allow the public to have input on the revocation request, which does not have merit and was not filed with due diligence, the report states.

According to the report, the Coastal Commission received information about the tidewater goby at its Oct. 13, 2010 meeting. A letter was also received by the Wetlands Defense Fund and CLEAN on the same day outlining the same concerns about the impacts to the tidewater goby, the report states.

“Because the same parties requesting revocation raised the same issues at the time of Commission’s action, the revocation request was not filed with due diligence,” according to the report.

Hanscom recently criticized the project for conducting no ongoing surveys about the status of the tidewater goby since the breach of the sand berm separating the Malibu Lagoon from Surfrider Beach.

“This breach, by scientific conjecture, was likely to have caused serious harm to the breeding habitat for this fish species, while making it easier for the contractors to begin significant grading at the lagoon, which state officials have admitted,” according to a statement from Hanscom and van de Hoek.

The groups also raised concerns about the discovery of the South Coast Marsh Vole, which is on the state Fish & Game “Species of Special Concern” list, and the new critical habitat designation for the Western Snowy Plover on June 19.

The Coastal Commission report acknowledges it received an email from Hanscom about the snowy plover habitat, but that she failed to show “how this information raises any grounds for revocation.”

Cece Stein July 31, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I guess Marcia feels obligated to fail again and again !
R Y A N July 31, 2012 at 03:49 PM
The State Attorney General's investigation into State Parks' concealment of special funds, and all the firings and resignations that have resulted, will be telling in the future of how the so-called Renovation was a scheme to enrich contractors and consultants with a foot-in-the-door project/permit that will go on for years. Sometimes you can't stop tragedy, but fixes can eventually be put in place (a culprits behind bars) to protect future waste of public tax dollars.
Fran Lord July 31, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Before construction, I walked by the lagoon and saw dead birds, stagnant water and a horrible odor. The lagoon appeared not to be healthy. I think that any improvement is well worth it. Restoring the lagoon will improve the wildlife and the residents of Malibu for many years to come. Looking forward to a healthy clean lagoon with thriving wildlife. Fran
Marshall Thompson July 31, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Before construction, I saw thousands of mature living birds, many young hatchlings, fish jumping in the lagoon, insect and mammalian life everywhere, daily evidence of tidal water flow with healthy-looking kelp strands in the smaller channels. At lower tides I could smell the typical odor of mudflats and estuaries everywhere. I also saw the occasional dead bird including several pelicans because in the real world EVERYTHING EVENTUALLY DIES, including friendly, informed contributors to the Malibu Patch like myself. Today, what was once a thriving lagoon eco-system is a mostly lifeless mud pit thanks to your and my tax dollars.
Chuck Almdale July 31, 2012 at 10:13 PM
I shall send some remarks of my own to the Coastal Commission concerning the project. I will also point out to them some of Ms. Hanscom's errors in reference to me, documented here: http://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2012/8/W4.5a-8-2012.pdf It is my position and the position of Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society that the Snowy Plovers on Surfrider Beach are in no danger from the project. They are in fact in far more danger from the average beach-goer wandering over the sand than they are from the project. To stop the project now would leave the west channels area 1/4th done. Only someone who has no love for wildlife and beauty would want the area stay the way it currently is for even one minute longer than necessary. Ms. Hanscom reveals herself as someone who wishes to win no matter the cost. If she truly loved the area as she so vehemently and repeatedly claims, she, like the true mother in the parable of King Solomon and the dividing of the baby, she would not demand her half of the child, but would let it go.
Cece Stein August 01, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Thanks Chuck. Juicy info, a must read....unless of course you were one of the unfortunate who wrote a check to Marcia and Roy, aka Wetlands Defense Fund .
Cece Stein August 01, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Something stinks and it isn't the stagnant dead zones of the western channels .
JustWondering August 01, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Especially unfortunate because donations to the Wetlands Defense Fund are apparently not tax deductible. There is indication of an application at the California charity database, but the status as of now is "Not Registered." And: “Newly formed nonprofit organizations should not state that they have obtained recognition of tax-exempt status until recognition is granted” according to http://ag.ca.gov/charities/publications/guide_for_charities.pdf Is it legit to say on the www.savemalibulagoon.org website: "Send tax-deductible donations payable to Wetlands Defense Fund"? Marcia - please clarify.
Marcia Hanscom August 01, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Because this is a public site, I must take time from our work for Malibu Lagoon to reply to misrepresentations made above. It has been the practice of some who are not allowed to post on Patch under their real names to attack us, defame us and malign us and our intentions. That comes with the territory of standing up for Nature in this culture, unfortunately. We are in the business of working to change this paradigm and, thus, changing the world. Our planet and our future depends on it. Most of our supporters donate because of the work we do - speaking for & standing up for Nature, particularly related to wetlands and other imperiled habitats and species needing voices to speak for them in the midst of assaults like the one taking place at Malibu Lagoon. Some of our supporters additionally desire tax deductions for their contributions, but most support us primarily because of the work we do and the love we share for Nature. Wetlands Defense Fund was organized under a fiscal sponsorship arrangement, which provided those tax deductions. We decided last year to organize with our own charitable status. Before all of those arrangements were finalized, our original fiscal sponsor surprisingly closed its doors. While we awaited our final determination, we arranged to be under the fiscal sponsorship of another organization. We are an active California public benefit corporation. If a donor wishes a tax deduction, that can be legitimately received.
JustWondering August 01, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Marcia - Relax. My inquiry was totally legitimate based on the California State records. Everyone should check charitable status and even the tax Form 990 before giving sizable donations. This sounds like WDF was a victim of the Sugarman scam? If so, that explains it and you have nothing but my sympathy. Whatever happened to him?
Chuck Almdale August 01, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Marcia Hanscom: You certainly have a plethora of funds, networks, institutes, and whatnot. Why so many? Whatever happened to Wetlands Action Network, under which you were operating only a few years back?
Suzanne Goode August 01, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Marcia, I totally sympathize with your first sentence.
JustWondering August 02, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Chuck - You can get the 990 tax forms for most charities at www.guidestar.org . The last one for W.A.N. was for 1998. I don't see a 990 after that for any of the organizations associated with Marcia or Roy actually, but I could be missing something. In particular, Marcia mentions above that she switched at some point to an umbrella organization, which makes it harder to trace the finances. This is not necessarily fishy, there are good reasons for small charities to use such services. Still it does prevent us from getting the basic information provided in the 990, e.g., income, outlays, and how much the top people get paid.
Cece Stein August 02, 2012 at 03:21 AM
JustWondering, we like and support the description "fishy". That works for us.
Brian Ginna August 03, 2012 at 04:02 PM
"We are in the business of working to change this paradigm and, thus, changing the world." Wow, you sure take yourself seriously. A little too much, I think. Good luck on your losing appeal.


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