A contractor installed a nearly 6-foot-tall chain-link fence around a portion of the Malibu Lagoon Wednesday, marking the first major step in a controversial restoration project.
Contractor Ford E.C., Inc. also put in temporary electricity poles and wires, which will power its onsite trailer, according to Suzanne Goode, State Parks Senior Environmental Scientist.
A biologist and several other monitors, including a Chumash tribal member, were on site to oversee the removal of vegetation for the fence, Goode said. The fence should be completely installed around the project area within two days, she added.
Once the fence is erected, scientists will begin capturing wildlife and releasing them on State Park property upstream.
Opponents of the project began trickling in just after 9 a.m., when work had already been well underway.
Activist Marcia Hanscom of the Wetland Defense Fund, one of three groups that filed a lawsuit seeking the revocation of a Coastal Commission permit approved for the project, said the fence will block off access to wildlife who need the lagoon.
“This is not for restoration. This is a construction zone,” Hanscom said, motioning to workers installing the fence.
Beach access will be blocked off on a perimeter trail while the fence is installed, and surfers were being directed over foot bridges that are slated to eventually be removed.
A dozen State Parks rangers and other scientists hummed around the site Wednesday morning, and some informed beach goers of the change in access.
Earlier this week, scientists, volunteers and students salvaged native plants and began in the areas of the lagoon that will be disturbed first.