Ben’s take on the Lagoon


I am poking around online looking for photos to update an existing Surfing California guide. I went to looking for aerial photos of California lineups with swell.

First of all, that area [west of the lagoon] is not a wetlands, it’s a debris deposit. In its natural state there is nothing there-no channeling, or flora or bird habitat or anything.

Malibu Lagoon in its natural state is not a wetlands: it’s a flat, featureless, boring debris deposit. Boring, but that is what nature intended. Dumb, dumb, dumb. So much hot air and misinformation and money and lawsuits and times, for a simple solution.

The use of bulldozers is destructive, but also justified, because they should go in and tear out all the phony channels and flora and take it back to the boring nothing that nature intended.

You could even leave the damned bridges in there. They aren’t the problem. To put it in margarine advertising terms: “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.”

Ben Marcus

Bob’s reply

Irrefutable evidence has been provided by numerous highly qualified scientists who have studied the history and geology of the Malibu Creek floodplain, historical wetland and lagoon, how it functions in a natural state and what has caused it to become dysfunctional. Numerous scientists have also studied the condition of the water quality and quantity, the creek flow (measured in cubic feet per second) and the lagoon flow.

Currently, the condition of the lagoon is like a petrified sponge that cannot soak up water due to the compacted landfill and debris, which was waste placed there in 1929, when the state built PCH. Even though three channels cut into the lagoon in 1983 and 80,000 sq. ft. of compacted landfill was left over from the attempt to help the lagoon revive, the compacted landfill is dense and still prevents the natural soils from functioning like an oxygen-rich pliable sponge. The compacted landfill, even with the three channels, prevents the lagoon from functioning and is causing pollution in the water. Add to that mix the creek water that is polluted from the commercial developments next to the creek in Malibu, and every other contributor upstream, settling into the lagoon when the creek backs up after the beach berm closes and you get stagnant water where bad bacteria accumulates. The lagoon is dead at the back end and the oxygen is depleted throughout the lagoon. The water quality that enters the surf zone from the creek is exacerbated by the contribution of the lagoon’s bad water quality.

Wikipedia’s definition of “Wetland”: “A wetland is an area of ground that is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorized by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions. The water found in wetlands can be saltwater freshwater, or brackish. Wetlands include swamps, marshes, and bogs, among others.”

Ben, you are wrong to state, “In its natural state there is nothing there-no channeling, or flora or bird habitat or anything.” And, there is more evidence to prove that you are wrong in this case. Sorry, Ben, you are a smart guy and I respect you, but in this instance you got it wrong.

Bob Purvey