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Malibu Surfers Discuss Lagoon Project at Meeting

May 24, 2012

We previously announced that  Real Malibu 411 was holding a  Public Informational Meeting at the Point Dume Clubhouse on Sunday.  Jim Kenney, SMBAS member and major photographic contributor our blog, was in the audience at the meeting and submitted this report.  [Chuck Almdale]
NOTE: This discussion will be held again on Thursday, May 24th, 7 p.m. at Duke’s Restaurant (PCH & Las Flores Cyn. Rd.)

The meeting was not well attended,  with most, such as Bob Purvey, being in favor of the restoration.   The main idea put forth by surfers Glenn Hening and Steve Woods, is that restoring the western channels would in no way effect the condition of the waves.  They pointed out that wave excellence depends on the deposition of rocks and boulders brought [the creek]  down after heavy storms.  In 1969 a massive storm brought excellent conditions that lasted for 15 years.  So….it’s the main channel, not the side channels that  is in play.  Andy Lyon, an outspoken restoration opponent, (not at this meeting) has claimed that the eastern (Adamson House) breach-point should not be the favored one.  It was pointed out with historical photographs and personal experience, that nature is in charge and favors the eastern breach.  This year was an example,,,,,it breached in the west, but gradually moved east.  (It closed completely this week.)  The 3rd speaker, Ken Seino, related his near death experience from the pollution brought down from Malibu Canyon.  Anecdotal evidence lists three actual deaths from surfing off the lagoon.  Ken probably had bacterial endocarditis, as did the others.  Hening and Seino discussed the “possibility” that restoring the west channels would help relieve pollution in the surf, even though much of it comes from the watershed of Malibu Creek.  One of the opposition was furious that no proof existed that restoring the west channels would in fact  be helpful.  Another opponent claimed that it is too much money for the project  with no guarantees.  [Jim Kenney]

Editorial Comment:
The historical record shows that no matter where the lagoon is breached to the ocean, the outlet always moves to the east towards Adamson House.  This is likely due to the direction of the current flow immediately offshore.  In recent decades, the “late-night” breaches by persons unknown were done as far to the west, as close to the “cliff” of dirt, as possible.  But over the following few months, the outlet moves eastward.  I’ve seen this happen every year.  The map below is from 1877, discovered by local historian Tony Shafer and among many items posted on a Malibu Patch blog by Ben Marcus on 10/24/11.  The course of Malibu Creek once it passes west of the knoll where the Serra Retreat Center now sits is a bit different than now, flowing farther east and then farther west until it gets to the beach, where it takes a sharp turn to the east as it backs up behind the sand.  There are 14 other interesting photos on local historian and standup paddler Marcus’ blog.  Read the blog, while you’re at it, for a view that’s different from what you usually hear. [Chuck Almdale]

1877 Map of Malibu (courtesy of Tony Shafer, Ben Marcus & Malibu Patch)


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