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Malibu Lagoon Restoration – Important Update

May 10, 2012

To all SMBAS members and friends:   Please read the following message from Bob Purvey.  Bob is a writer, film producer, surfer, activist and  long time Malibu resident.  I don’t know Bob well, but I distinctly recall his presence at the very first Malibu Lagoon and Watershed meetings I attended back in the 90’s, and at innumerable meetings after that.  His concern for the lagoon is long-term, ongoing, deep and well-informed.  Please follow the weblinks supplied below, especially the one to the YouTube video by Aquatic Field Scientist Matthew Horns, who will be conducting Lagoon tours at 1 PM on Saturdays 5/19 & 5/26.   [***See Biographical information on Horns in 2nd comment following this article.]   Please also read the letter of Anthony I. Perez, Deputy Director of Parks Operations written to Ms. Agi Kessler, Chair of the Resolution Committee of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party (see link to PDF file below).  [Chuck Almdale]
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Dear Friends:
Last night I read an article on Surfline, which clearly takes sides in opposition to the Malibu Lagoon project without fully reviewing the facts and merits of the project.   There are many serious misleading allegations in the Surfline article that I feel must be addressed immediately.

Surfline falsely likened the Malibu Lagoon project to a project planned at Trestles that had a freeway (toll road) going across San Mateo Creek, failed to address Steelhead Trout and their survivability, failed to address the persistent poor water quality issues and was planning to remove access to the surf spot.

Quite the contrary:   The Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project plan, set to begin on June 1st, 2012, was started in 2000 with the Malibu Lagoon Task Force.

The Malibu Lagoon Task Force includes all the environmental organizations and the lagoon project has been properly planned after an extensive and exhaustive planning process.   All the environmental organizations still stand strongly united in support of the project.   There are two rogue groups known as Save the Lagoon and Wetland Defense Fund and a newly formed group known as the Surfer’s Coalition that are behind the disinformation campaign.

The Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement project has far reaching benefits.   Please read the attached letter response from California State Parks Deputy Director Anthony Perez addressing the Los Angeles County Democratic Party’s short-sighted opposition of the lagoon project.   His eloquent letter thoroughly corrects all the misleading half-truths the Democratic Party was misled by.

Seems like Surfline and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party are not the only one’s that have been misinformed.  Glenn Hening, Surfrider Foundation’s Founder replies to this situation succinctly in a YouTube video.

I cannot blame anyone for wanting to protect Malibu and when faced with emotionally charged information that may appear threatening, one’s guard would be naturally raised.   However, the facts of the matter must be shared so that one can make an informed decision on their own.   The lagoon project is far too important to me as a long-standing Malibu surfer to allow any misinformation go unnoticed.

It’s nice to know that 99% of us will benefit from the Malibu Lagoon project: Scientist Matthew Horns explains why in his YouTube video tour recorded May 3, 2012.

Aquatic field scientist Matthew Horns has many years of expertise and experience in the Malibu Creek Watershed and Lagoon.   In this 14-minute video tour of the Malibu Lagoon, Matt shows and tells us about the pollution problems plaguing the lagoon.   He explains how depleted dissolved oxygen is the cause of many life-threatening problems and what the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement project will do to resolve these problems in this magnificent and significant wildlife habitat.  [Link to Bio of Matthew Horns.]   [***See Biographical information on Horns in 2nd comment following this article.]

As a competitive surfer from Malibu since 1963 and considered one of the first professionals in the sport, I truly care about Malibu Surfrider Beach, which is why in 1992 I joined the Malibu Creek Watershed effort to clean up the water pollution at Surfrider and I am fully aware of the pollution problems and what is being done to resolve them.

I am therefore surprised and shocked that Surfline claims to have signatures on a petition opposing the project from such luminaries in the sport of surfing as Nat Young.   I respect Nat immensely and consider him a good friend but in my opinion, it would have been a bit more responsible for Nat and any of the sport’s representatives to have taken a more pro-active position and reviewed the matter fully, but it seems that if Surfline‘s claim is true, then they may be the victim of the same emotionalism that is played on to convey the opposition’s message filled with half-truths.

I know they are half truths and I also know the merits of the project because I have been participating in the development of the project from the beginning.   My friend Nat and some of my other friends have been duped and I hope Surfline and everyone who is questioning the Malibu Lagoon Project, first read State Park’s Deputy Director’s letter response to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, which is attached.   This letter serves to clarify the situation completely.  Letter from Director Perez

Also, please review the 14-minute video tour given by Malibu Lagoon Field Scientist Matt Horns, which should help you to understand why I am convinced that the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement project is worthy.

Bob Purvey
PS: Matt is conducting two more Saturday, 1 PM, tours on May 19 & May 26, 2012.
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3 Comments
  1. LucienP permalink
    May 16, 2012 9:52 pm

    Chuck, Thank you for the documentation. It seems as if, once again, we are lining up with a person who has real, long-term knowledge of the local ecology and has not just been flinging speculation.
    Lu Plauzoles

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  2. Chukar permalink
    May 15, 2012 12:30 pm

    I received a few inquiries from blog readers about Matthew Horns, his credentials and the video itself. I personally think very highly of Horns’ video presentation, but I know little about aquatic science. Mark Abramson, Senior Watershed Advisor for Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation supplied the following information. [Mark, as leader of the “Stream Team” for Heal the Bay, was also a regular attendee at the Malibu Creek and Lagoon meetings which went on for many years.] My personal impression of Mr. Horns, whom I do not know, is that he is to aquatic science what some local birders are to birding – an experienced and devoted volunteer and part-time scientist who knows enough to make valuable and informed contributions to his field of expertise.

    CA: Do you know anything about Horns?
    MA: Matt worked for me as field researcher at Heal the Bay for about 4 years. He conducted steelhead trout barrier surveys, stream and wetland habitat assessments throughout the Santa Monica Mountains but mainly in the Malibu Creek watershed. He conducted biological monitoring: specifically benthic macroinvertebrate sampling at 29 stream reaches throughout the Santa Monica mountains, conducted water quality monitoring both in the field and the lab (testing for dissolved oxygen, conductivity, turbidity, pH, stream flow, salinity, nutrient testing for nitrates as nitrogen, orthophosphate, and ammonia nitrogen). He also collected and analyzed bacteria samples including total coliform, e. coli, and enterococcus bacteria. Matt has also worked with the RCD of the Santa Monica Mountains doing fish surveys in Malibu and Topanga lagoons, and steelhead surveys in Malibu Creek, Topanga Creek, and Arroyo Sequit Creek. Matt has also worked with Cal State Los Angeles and National Park Service conducting water quality monitoring at other stream sites throughout the Santa Monica Mountains.

    CA: Can the statements he made in the video be relied upon (i.e. do they agree with your understanding)?
    MA: Yes. I have reviewed the video and what he has said is factual.

    CA: Do you think he did an accurate presentation of the situation in the video?
    MA: Yes. The dissolved oxygen levels were brutally low and he very thoroughly described the areas with compacted landfill. Also his statements seem to agree with what Kimball said at the Malibu City Council meeting a couple of months ago about the serious decline of birds in the western channels. I can tell you that there is a serious lack of benthic macroinvertebrates and other organisms in those channels. Seriously low levels of dissolved oxygen in those channels confirmed by our ongoing monitoring. I leave the bird information up to you all as you are far more knowledgeable on that subject than I am. It is definitely true that we will not be disturbing the Snowy Plover area or the main lagoon. Dan Cooper has already been out three days conducting Avian nesting surveys and while he only found 1 black phoebe and 1 bushtit nest he did document territories where birds were showing behavior that might indicate nesting. We will definitely be very careful and fully scout each area before doing any work and protect any nests that we find.

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  3. May 15, 2012 2:02 am

    Matt Horns here. Please investigate the facts about Malibu Lagoon and form your personal opinion based on the real truth.

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