Improve and protect


    The following letter was sent to Mayor Joan House and members of the council.

    A member of the public questioned the council about a report I did on the delineation of the wetlands in the Malibu Civic Center. Contrary to what some have written and said, I did this report on my own and independently because of my previous and continuing efforts to improve and protect Malibu Creek and Lagoon.

    I am so concerned about the human health and environmental integrity that I wrote a grant for $3 million for the L.A. County Park Bond Act of 1992 and successfully obtained $1 million for a linear park and for improvements to the conditions that would make Malibu Creek healthier. This money is still held in trust for the city of Malibu. This is a matter of public record. The grant proposes creek-side improvements and polishing ponds for storm water runoff among other options.

    I met the Malibu Bay Company principals during the grant application process because the grant required that I obtain permission from the landowners. Grantors are not interested in using public or private money for condemnation and eminent domain. FEMA takes the same position and their Challenge 21 funds require willing sellers. Working with landowners is a key component of success for our community.

    It is also a matter of public record that the Malibu Civic Center landowners group, the Malibu Bay Company and Pepperdine University specifically submitted letters of support offering their cooperation in the preservation of the environment and the creation of this linear park.

    The implementation of the $1 million grant is awaiting the scientific studies that are currently being conducted by the Malibu Creek Watershed Council and the city of Malibu and development proposals in the Malibu Civic Center. It is of greatest importance that all studies are conducted with peer review and to acceptable scientific and bidding standards or we risk losing the funds.

    Our city, in its short history, has lost millions of dollars from grants and in lawsuits. By involving myself in the wetlands delineation, I hope to safeguard this grant funding. I could not sit back and let the council make a decision without more information available.

    The council and staff are very busy in our city. As a concerned and knowledgeable volunteer I felt obligated to protect the grant and to provide information which would be critical to the council — an open written debate on the issues.

    My report to the council was extensive because the subject matter was complicated and required documentation of my statements. I produced a comparative review of two sides to an issue. I conducted interviews with principals and scientists involved with Ballona Wetlands and Bolsa Chica. I reviewed court records and the Army Corps of Engineers Manual to determine if statements to the council by others were of fact.

    I will continue to do research when I believe the environmental health of our community is at risk. I have a long history of independent research. It is a shame that some individuals in our community do not want the whole truth told and fabricate conspiracy theories or personally attack me and others seeking an open debate.

    The Army Corps of Engineers will actually delineate the wetlands. Our city simply provides scientific information to the corps. In addition, the landowners, individuals, other marine scientists and environmental organizations (such as Surfriders, Wetlands Action Network, Heal the Bay, the Watershed Council, etc.) are also able to submit information for the corps’ consideration. Nobody has been cut off from this process. By working directly with the scientist on the wetlands information, the city has reduced the risk of losing the grant funds and increasing the potential controversy about the results.

    Barbara A. Cameron