Letter: Knock it Down

That’s right: The tent pole of the Malibu Creek Restoration Plan is the removal of the Rindge Dam. But, to say that’s happening because dams are “out of favor with the enviro world” is to greatly understate the impact of a restored waterway on Malibu’s residents, ecology and economy. And it’s not just a Malibu issue: Dams are being knocked down and hauled off from coast to coast. 

Restoring riparian habitats has wide—ranging effects including restoring prime spawning and rearing habitat for migratory species. Since the vast majority of marine life spawning happens within a mile of the shore or in the coastal waterways, creeks as modest as Malibu Creek play a large role in the health of the oceans. 

Steelhead Trout are not just a symbol — although their return to Malibu Creek will signal we’ve restored the habitat — they are an important component of California’s fisheries. That you can order Steelhead Trout at a restaurant is exactly the reason why we want to restore their spawning habitat on Malibu Creek. When a healthy run of salmon or steelhead is restored, half the annual run can be harvested without endangering the resource.   

Ninety years ago, the Rindge family dammed a free-running creek to divert water to their private enterprise. When that asset no longer served them, they sold it to the state. The campaign to remove the dam is not just an environmental indulgence; it is a campaign to cover the externalized costs of a private enterprise foisted on the taxpayers, like the DDT contamination in the Santa Monica Bay or the poisons left behind in the precious metals mines that flooded the Animas River recently. 

The dam may have some historical significance to the Rindges but, if so, why did they pawn it off on the state? To them, it may be a cherished edifice, but in fact, it is an enormous concrete and steel plug choking a crucial habitat.  

D Paul Yeuell

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

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