Areias pays visit to lagoon, Rindge Dam

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Hoping to persuade the new director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation to back initiatives they have planned for the Malibu area, local state parks officials last week took the new director, Rusty Areias, on a tour of sites around town where changes are planned. An assortment of other government officials, including Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn Van Horn and Coastal Commission Chair Sara Wan, accompanied the tour and occasionally broke into testy exchanges at some of the sites.

Areias, the first Democratic-appointed director in 12 years, is a former assemblyman from Northern California and a former member of the Coastal Commission.

At the first stop on the tour, Malibu Lagoon, local state parks officials said they would like to expand the lagoon in order to accommodate additional water coming through Malibu Creek from the Tapia water treatment facility and from landscaping on increased inland development.

“The lagoon needs to be larger because there is more water in the watershed,” said state parks official Suzanne Goode. She suggested the state may acquire property in the Malibu Colony in order to widen the area of the lagoon.

The group then moved on to Rindge Dam, where state parks officials explained their interest in removing the dam, which they say threatens the habitat restoration of southern steelhead trout by blocking the trout’s access to spawning and rearing areas upstream.

Goode pitched the need for additional funding for a feasibility study that the department has planned for the dam.

Areias asked whether the dam had historical significance. Russ Guiney, Angeles superintendent for California State Parks, told him it is not an historical landmark, and he explained that Ron Rindge, for whose grandmother, May, the dam is named, is waging a personal campaign to save it.