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Judge Rejects Malibu Lagoon Lawsuit

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith sides with the state on the controversial project.

SAN FRANCISCO—A lawsuit attempting to block the California Coastal Commission's October 2010 approval of the State Parks-led overhaul project was rejected here Thursday by a Superior Court judge.

Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith ruled against the three environmental groups that filed the suit—the Wetlands Defense Fund, Access for All and the Coastal Law Enforcement Action Network—except on one technical issue. Goldsmith said the Coastal Commission properly "analyzed all feasible alternatives to the project" and chose the one that was "least damaging to achieve the goals." He also said he was satisfied with the mitigation measures that would be taken to protect the lagoon's endangered species.

The judge rejected the argument that removal of the lagoon's wooden bridges would be harmful to public access because there would still be a trail.

Suzanne Goode, a senior environmental scientist with California State Parks, said she was pleased with the ruling, but not surprised.

"After going over all the documents for many, many months, it appeared to me that those who filed the suit didn't have much of a case," Goode said. 

She added, "We feel quite vindicated with this decision and are glad that all the federal and state agencies as well as the major environmental groups stood by us during the whole process."

The project was supposed to start last June, but was called off when Goldsmith in May approved a stay on the project due to the pending suit. Goode said at the time that the delay put in jeopardy a $2.5 million grant for the project that needed to be used this year. However, she said on Thursday that an extension was placed on the grant pending the outcome of the suit.

Goode said the project will begin next June. It can only be done in the summer, according to the permit approved by the Coastal Commission.

Marcia Hanscom, who heads two of the environmental groups that filed the suit said she was "very disappointed."

"I think that [Goldsmith] did not grasp the issues of this project. ... He seemed very confused by a lot of the issues," Hanscom said. "And it is beyond me how he could read that record and say the Coastal Commission complied with the law. They did not."

Her partner Roy van de Hoek added, "It's distressing to know that birds, the fish, the tidewater goby and other endangered species, dragonflies, the many species that are relying on Malibu Lagoon for food, shelter and breeding in this habitat are now again placed at risk of losing their habitat because of this judge's ruling."

Hanscom and van de Hoek said they have grounds for an appeal. They said it is a matter of whether others in Malibu and elsewhere are interested in filing an appeal because they will need to raise money to fund it. Van de Hoek also said he is working on trying to get the environmental groups that support the project to reverse their position.

Goode said she was not surprised to hear that an appeal was planned. She said this would require another stay on the project, and Goode said it could be more difficult to get one approved a second time.

Called the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Plan, the project includes the replacement of nonnative vegetation with native vegetation and adjustments to slopes and channels in a 12-acre portion of the lagoon. Existing access bridges will be removed.

Proponents say the project will improve oxygen circulation and the general health of the lagoon. Opponents say it will harm the lagoon and that species will die. They object to the use of bulldozers, the removal of the bridges and other features.

Steve Woods November 03, 2011 at 07:43 PM
Speaking of the Breach in the lagoon , Have you noticed how far the opening has migrated to the east in such a short time ? When it was first released, it pretty much went straight out to sea, now it has bent east with sand building up on the ocean side as a result of the prevailing currents . At this rate how long before it reaches down towards 1st point on its natural migration ? or will the breach silt up and close before that occurs ?
Alessandra DeClario November 03, 2011 at 10:49 PM
If anyone wants to know anything they can find out for themselves. What good is it anyway for someone to tell you something? Why would someone blindly believe what others say anyway? I find out the truth by myself - with my own mind doing my own research and doing research to counter the other research and still delve. Also being "a fly on the wall" is another way to discover things. Oh and as you go by people talking - you be surprised at what you hear. I'm trying to be sincere Steve. If you want to just play around then "for get a bou t it"! (said in a true N.Y. Italian accent!). Over and OUT!
iCandymalibu November 03, 2011 at 11:30 PM
Thanks St
iCandymalibu November 03, 2011 at 11:33 PM
Sorry, Thanks Steve. Is there anywhere I can get non-biased information on this lagoon project? From reading the prior posts, seems like no one on this site will just discuss without throwing verbal bombs at one another.
Steve Woods November 03, 2011 at 11:35 PM
Ms. Declario In Your investigations have you found out that the Waves at 3rd point have been poor for years and currently below average quality and really cannot be ruined by any Project because they already are or that if the waves were good that The Restoration Project would not adversely affect the Cobblestones nor the waves at 3rd ? Educate yourself from other than one source on the historical evolution of how the reef at 2nd and 3rd point has changed through the ages , for better or worse , Nature has and always will dictate the destiny of every rock in the surf zone regardless of the historical fluctuations in the lagoon . The Lakegoon in the 20's preceded the epic waves in the early 40's, then the bottom contours became poor again during the 50's and 60's til the epic winter of 1969 which produced world class waves for 13 + years , Now frustrated surfers wait for another epic storm to rearrange the bottom . Could be this year , La Nina (doubtful ) or it could be in 50 years . Til then way too many aggravated surfers viciously prey on the limited resources at 1st point . Keep your fingers crossed for 10 inches an hour in the creeks watershed .
Steve Woods November 03, 2011 at 11:59 PM
I guess you have to be your own judge . Hear both sides and weed out the distortions and try to figure out the facts from fiction . There are some strange underlying angles to all this and I can't just sit back and allow distortions to become fact . Both sides can have valid points . Some people fear a negative change , I see a positive change that will solve alot of on going problems that will eventually help surfers health and create a healthier ecosystem for wildlife for generations to come . Doing nothing solves nothing . I'd like to see the Osprey and the Steel Head make a come back without those Bridges intruding in a world where humans have continually encroached on a dwindling wildlife habitat . As a long time surfer here I do Not fear any Adverse affects of this project in the surf zone . I just read in the paper today that the PCH Solstice bridge bottom will be jack hammered and bulldozed to create ladder pools for the return of the Steel Head , YEAH ! Man giving back what man has taken away !
Alessandra DeClario November 04, 2011 at 02:21 AM
iCandymalibu - Check out www.savemalibulagoon.com The site may be in opposition to the project, but it has links to many places that you can check out and go from there to other sites, etc. This will give you an opportunity to read at your pace and come to your own conclusions. I'm sorry that you have to endure the ego tripping that sometimes occurs on PATCH - but there are some good points here and there and actually it's just that many have their own strong opinions. I mainly focus on the animal and environmental issues. I think that any project that will intentionally harm animals-plant/environment needs to go back to the "drawing table" and get advice from those that can do the project with less impact on animals-plant/environment. Andy Lyon is the dude that knows about the surf. Good luck in your searching.
Alessandra DeClario November 04, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Steve - I mainly focus on the animal and environmental issues. I think that any project that will intentionally harm animals-plant/environment needs to go back to the "drawing table" and get advice from those that can do the project with less impact on animals-plant/environment. Andy Lyon is the dude that knows about the surf. And if you intend to use a name in your post then please do it correctly - use my correct title and correct spelling of my last name. Peace!
Steve Woods November 04, 2011 at 02:38 AM
And then check out www.ecomalibu.org , the Heal The Bay website ,The Bay Keepers website , Surfrider Foundations website and the State Parks website. and if Andy Lyon " the dude who knows the surf " and he DOES surf well , but what he does not realize is that the waves at 3rd point can't be ruined because they have been ruined for many years by mother natures refusal to arrange the cobblestones in a beneficial order , that is why Andy surfs 1st point 99% of the time , That is why Kelly Slater doesn't surf 3rd point when he is in town , Kelly IS the DUDE that knows GOOD SURF
Andy Lyon November 04, 2011 at 02:52 AM
HA ... Icandymalibu , good person to ask that question to ! You know what I say... go look for yourself. walk around at high tide and low tide...look at it from the pch bridge , from on the beach , on the foot bridges and the long path....check the whole place out. That is the problem...nobody is just going there and looking at the treasure that we have that is going to be 're-done'...call it whatever you want...it is a HUGE project and people will make a lot of money on this project. And when you say "I don't see why you need to do such a destructive project...it looks beautiful in there" the answer is 'it's what you don't see' substantiated with their own scientific data , self serving scientific data. you know what i don't see in there??? a need to do this project. If you want to learn about the lagoon , go there. get back to me after you have gone there. if you aren't willing to do that well then it really doesn't matter to you , does it?
Andy Lyon November 04, 2011 at 02:55 AM
Steve , I just was out there...where were you ?? You never surf anymore. I know how to fix the wave, you have given up on it. drink to that !
Steve Woods November 04, 2011 at 02:58 AM
ICandyMalibu , Here is a perfect example of what I am taking about , Allesandra DeClario States that this project will "INTENTIONALLY HARM -plant/environment" ,, but In fact there are great measures in the protocol for this project to go to great lengths to avoid the loss of any life . Her accusation is an example of pure dis-ingeniousness ! Three weeks prior to any work being done Animal loving Biologist will relocate any creatures they can find to a temporary home before being re-released back into the Lagoon , There have been distortions of MASS GENOCIDE and EXTINCTIONS , that Murders of BIRDS deer raccoons , coyotes, fox , Gobys Egrets , Herons Will occur .. LIES LIES LIES
Steve Woods November 04, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Hey Andy I still surf but I don't surf crowded small crappy waves like you just did . I would rather travel to a surf spot that is clean , uncrowded and has quality barrels ,, Have fun with all the Kooks
Alessandra DeClario November 04, 2011 at 03:18 AM
And this is a perfect example of still spelling names wrong! Poor iCandyMalibu! ...just trying to help you out: Also check out what was said at the April City Council meeting - just go to the City site and click on archives of the videos and go to the date (I think April 11) listen to what the scientists say. (it's near the end of the Council meeting). And really with all good intentions, can a biologist really locate ALL the creatures that will be harmed - think about it. PLEASE! Find out about the goby and how it survives and the type of water it really needs... Find out about the snowy plover and how it makes its nest - and the season it mates Find out when this "restoration" will be happening (then compare to the nesting seasons, etc.) Find out about all the native plants that will be destroyed I encourage you to do your best icandymalibu to find out the facts for yourself and don't listen to any of us here... you find out for YOU and you make your own decision. I don't know why Steve has to put people down and call them liars!? We all have our own opinion - that's all there is to it. No need to slander others! Just find as much info as possible and check it out forwards and backwards... then make YOUR decision from what you decide not what we say! Good luck!
iCandymalibu November 04, 2011 at 03:22 AM
Thank you Alessandra, I appreciate your input, but like so many others you inject statements that vilify either the proponents or opponents. You suggest that I visit the opponents site, but you don't give alternative sites to explore the proponents POV. I understand that you are opposed to the project,but you stated that the proponents of the project "will intentionally harm" wildlife? So are you saying that the proponents want to kill animals? Admittedly, I am not a scientist, just a poor, broke (potential employers take note:) Poly-Sci/History major, but much of what I have learned over the years has been displayed in real time on this site. I guess that's why I'm intrigued. I am neither for nor against the project itself. However, it is really interesting to see some of the theory I've learned play out in real time. This site is a great timeline! I don't know if the opponents are right or wrong, but it is fascinating to see one of the first political axioms I learned unfold in front of my eyes. Watching the project opponents switch from attacking the project to attacking the proponents as soon as the ruling was announced was a classic case of "if you can't attack the message, attack the messenger." And I'm nor saying that the opponents are the only ones who have done this. That's just the most recent thread I picked up. I thank you for your input and I hope you don't feel that I am "picking" on you! I admire your courage and spirit and your willingness to speak out!
Steve Woods November 04, 2011 at 03:23 AM
Oh I forgot to ask you Andy ,, How is Andy going to single handedly fix the wave ? So you admit , The wave is Broken ? Then don't say you want to protect the wave from being ruined because it already is .. Obiviously it is clear that just the mere fact of the berm being breached at 3rd doesn't fix the wave or are you saying you have fixed the broken wave ? Is it Fixed Andy ? Did you make the wave a world class wave ? Do you think you have the power to fix it all by yourself ?
iCandymalibu November 04, 2011 at 03:47 AM
Steve, I don't think Alessandra is lying. She is just very passionate about her beliefs. I admire her beliefs, as much as I admire yours. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she was being sincere about the "Poor iCandyMalibu" statement. Although It did sound a tad condescending, or maybe just sarcastic. Anyway, both sides should be able to back up their claims! That's what's so frustrating about this conversation. Too many accusations with no factual information to back them up!
Steve Woods November 04, 2011 at 03:49 AM
Andy I didn't know this . Andy since you know how to FIX the wave, WHY WHY oh Why didn't you fix the wave 20 years ago ? what are you waiting for ? Fix it Already . Now ! Do it ! You have my blessings There is a moderate south swell due Nov 9 - 11 Can it be fixed before then ? Do you need help ? Can I help ? What's involved ? If it gets fixed I will be out there every day . It 'll save me a trip to Tahiti or Mexico every year . Can you imagine only surfing crowded 1st point ? How sad ! but now you will have repaired 2nd and 3rd ? that will be very good . thank God
Steve Woods November 04, 2011 at 04:16 AM
How many Coyotes , deer , Raccoons , Squirrels , Egrets , Gobies , Mullets < Herons, Sea gulls , sand pipers , dragon flies, Hawks are going to just fold their arms or wings or fins and defy any Bulldozers/ tanks like the Chineese man in Tienanmen Square ? Answer :None, because they won't be there . They will have been removed by Field Biologist over a period of 3 weeks . Native plants as well as non natives will be removed and then natives will be replanted to help filter out any contaminants that The lagoon harbors . Poor oxygen circulation will be increased that will help break down bacteria buildups and create an ecosystem that will enrich organisms on all levels of the food chain . All of this and the Surf won't be negatively affected . A win win for all creatures for generations to come ,, How ever residence in the Colony will not like the tourist who will be taking the trail closer to their back yards , you can't blame them for lobbying against this project . It is understandable
Alessandra DeClario November 04, 2011 at 05:18 AM
Sorry icandymalibu for the mis-communication. When I said "poor" I meant that you had to endure our back and forth stuff! I wasn't being sarcastic! I have done my best to give as much links, etc. to find out how if what I say (or others!) is factual information. Ian Bryant (Authorized Representative) is a good person to get some info from re. the water conditions and some other environmental info... Also, it finally was admitted by Suzanne Goode (and others) that this project will NOT clean the water (the real issue is UP - Tapia etc)... and that this is an "experiment" - they realize they screwed it up the first time and admit they may have to come back and do it again... in fact, Heal the Bay is down in to be the ones to "monitor" (for more $$$). Greenwashing! I don't like "bad-mouthing" which is why I ask people to find things out for themselves. It seems that all organizations get corrupt at some time or other... even Greenpeace had problems - but it turned out to be a benefit because we got the Sea Shepherd to emerge from it all. I would love if the agencies that are in opposition to this project and those that would like to see it go forward would sit down together and go over EVERYTHING and come to a middle path decision. I REALLY wish you luck to find out for yourself what you think.
Alessandra DeClario November 04, 2011 at 05:38 AM
icandyman - check out Judge Hears Arguments on Malibu Lagoon Case
Andy Lyon November 04, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Woods, Everyone knows that having the breach point at the top of the point forms a better wave, but for some reason it has been made illegal to maintain its location. And for some reason you want to throw any hope of getting the right to take back control of the breach to these landscape architects that don't surf. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just start with the breach and have complete control of the location to see what would happen first without digging anything up? Now that would be an experiment that would be worth doing. Maybe the good Dr. Mark Gold should take be considering The Hippocratic Oath: Primum non nocere... "First, do no harm"
Steve Woods November 04, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Just having the breach at the top does not guarantee a better wave , It only makes the possibility somewhat greater , Although I agree that the breach should at 3rd before a BIG storm it is over rated to think that having it breached year around would rearrange Cobblestones in a beneficial formation , Just because you point the hose in the desirable direction doesn't mean the PSI's are great enough to move rock , You need a Mack Daddy Flood , not a dribble ,, As it is now , the breach has turned east and will continue to do so unless a mack daddy Storm blows out the berm , With slack half moon tides and little to no water coming down the creek the breach has a good possibility of closing up again . If it stays open it will eventually pour out at first point , You have to get permits to keep bulldozing the breach to get it stay at the top . But You know the Fish and Game / Audobon / Environmentalist will have a fit because it is natural for the Lagoon to become full being that it sustains a temporary natural eco system that benefits wildlife and the Pacific Flyover
Steve Woods November 04, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Andy If "everyone knows that the having the breach point at 3rd makes a better wave" , then they would be half wrong . You need a Honking flood to put some PSI"s in your hose to blast boulders around , Presently the breach is out at 3rd but the waves have not become world class , How come ? Just because you point and Hope for Change doesn't mean we are Entitled to get what we spoiled surfers want when we want it ,, Patience,,, Mother Nature needs to be involved too !
Dan Edrich November 10, 2011 at 09:21 PM
There is a failed wetland 'restoration' near my house in Manila Dunes. The faux enviros said that we had weeds, gotta pull them. Even when adverse impacts showed they kept on pulling. It seemed money-centered. NOW- our wetlands no longer function, the vegetation was removed so thoughtlessly that our wetlands drained, trees died and a wasting process has begun. It is a little late for us, but it is not too late for Malibu. take care of your shoreline, take nothing for granted, bull dozers do not belong on a beach.
Steve Woods January 08, 2012 at 10:30 PM
We have a successful Lagoon Restoration here in Malibu completed in 1998 called the Zuma Creek Lagoon Restoration ! Check it out
Athena Shlien January 09, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I walk Westwards almost daily and I have never seen the variety of life that I see at Malibu Lagoon. Yes, there are hundreds of Seagulls. Where are all of the hundreds of types of birds, the weasels, the goby, the heron and the many others? The Zuma Lagoon is a totally different ecosystem and should be treated as such.
Matt Horns March 14, 2012 at 07:24 AM
Why haven't all of Jonathon's posts been deleted?
Matt Horns March 14, 2012 at 07:37 AM
Fresh Turkey tastes much better than store-bought. The last time I ate fresh wild turkey was when my forestry crew in Mendocino County was driving home at the end of the work day. A wild turkey ran in front of our truck. The driver slammed on the brakes in an effort to not harm it. He jumped out and found it lying dead on the road. It was uninjured but apparently died of fright (turkeys are a very sensitive bunch). We took it home, removed the feathers, and baked it. Again, the best tasting turkey of my life. Anyone have a problem with this?
Matt Horns March 14, 2012 at 07:38 AM
This post is so last week. Sayonara Dude.

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