Letter: Consult the Science

Letter to the Editor

With respect to others’ opinions, we felt it necessary to respond to the many inaccuracies noted in the Judy Abel article “Surf community calling for immediate changes at Malibu Lagoon”.

The Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project was done specifically to enhance habitat, water quality and biodiversity of plants and wildlife in the western portions of Malibu Lagoon, and designed to avoid any alterations of the ocean, the surf break, and the outlet of Malibu Creek. No work was done in the river mouth area at the outlet of Malibu Creek.

The assertion that this was a faux restoration or is not working does not reflect reality. The intensive monitoring for the past four years to evaluate if the lagoon project is achieving the restoration goals has shown:

1.The topography of the western channels are stable with no significant buildup of sediment or organic muck. Algal blooms rarely occur now, and when they do, the improved circulation quickly flushes them from the western channels.

2.Dissolved oxygen levels are better during both open and closed conditions. Fish are using the lagoon, no dead zones exist, and no large fish kills have occurred.

3.Native plant diversity has increased to more than 50 species within a 10-meter transect. Fish species and the number of fish are greatly increased and non-native fish numbers are greatly diminished. Crustaceans have returned, and we have a better balance of macroinvertebrates with more marine species that are sensitive to pollution, indicating a cleaner healthier Lagoon.

4.Installed amenities are well used by the public, including surfers.

The restoration project has not caused changes in water flow from Malibu Creek, nor is the project a cause of increased erosion observed near the Adamson House. Additionally, the Lagoon has opened every year since the completion of the project in March 2013 at either Third Point or Second Point, the locations considered preferred by the surfing community. 

These and other points are responded to, in greater detail, in my full response on our website (santamonicabay.org) Malibu Lagoon page. 

Mark Abramson