Drastic measures needed for lagoon


There is a terrible disease afflicting the world’s oceans. The common name for it is “Dead Zones.” It happens when you get pockets of water that don’t circulate well. When there is biological material in those pockets of stagnant water, the bacteria eat up all the oxygen. Without oxygen, everything dies-the fish, snails, urchins, the whole gang. Also, the birds fly away.

Dead zones happen way too much these days in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean. They also can happen in small areas like our Malibu Lagoon. You can see it for yourself if you have an oxygen probe. Local folks have measured it. If you lower the probe down into the water of the lagoon once an hour all night, by sunrise you see the levels of oxygen plummet almost all the way down to the lethal level of zero. It is not normal and not healthy for a small body of water like the lagoon to have this problem. The lagoon is our patient, the patient is sick and getting sicker. It is also filling with sediment in a destructive way. Something needs to be done.

Imagine a friend who has a disease, maybe clogged arteries. Your friend looks fine. Then one day he informs you, “The doctors want to cut me open.” Your first response is, “Why? You look so healthy.” But you know the answer. A little bit of suffering now will help prevent a lot of suffering down the line.

This is the situation with the Malibu Lagoon. Nobody wants to chop into the patient. It’s going to be painful and not pretty. However, without doing this intrusive surgery, we’ll end up with an oxygen-depleted, sediment filled, visually unappealing and probably even foul-smelling birdless mess of a lagoon. It’s just like surgery. One of those things you just have to do.

If you want a healthy Malibu Lagoon, be supportive of the efforts of the Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project. Nobody feels good about having to do this surgical procedure. They could use your support.

Randy Olson