Forget the dam removal

The campaign to remove the Rindge Dam got another boost from The Malibu Times last week with Jim Edmonson “finding” it is “essential” for steelhead trout restoration to remove the dam. In the 30 years since steelhead effectively disappeared from the creek, study after study has focused on dam removal. That effort is thwarted by “paralysis by analysis.” The advocates push for studies and creation of a gigantic pork barrel project. They forget that steelhead were plentiful in the creek through the early ’70s despite the silting of the dam.

Perhaps a better alternative would be to follow John Wall’s suggestion to remove some silt from behind the dam and clean up the water before it reaches the steelhead habitat downstream of the dam. Critical to steelhead restoration is meeting water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act. Water quality improvement is not high on the dam removal people’s agenda.

Between the dam and the ocean, the Arizona Crossing at Cross Creek Road provided the only manmade impediment to passage. The Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy removed this obstruction and opened a bridge across the creek on Dec. 8, 2004. MCLC completed the design work started by the Serra Canyon Property Owner’s Association and got the many permits, provided funding and managed construction activities.

At the lagoon, Heal the Bay is moving toward a detailed plan to cleanse the lagoon. The city of Malibu has the funds to implement plans to clean up water from storm drains. We are nearing a solution (not another study) to clean water in the creek.

Rolling up our sleeves and concentrating resources on steelhead restoration below the dam, we can have native steelhead or seeding with hatchery raised steelhead in a few short years. The “pie in the sky” dam removal project has the legs to remain in study limbo throughout all readers’ lives. Let us forget the dam removal and work to a more modest, readily realized goal in steelhead restoration.

Bill Carson

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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