'Keep the Breakwater"

Eric Bailey

The United States Army Corps of Engineers presented a preliminary report Nov. 25 after three years of research that suggests keeping the controversial breakwater intact.

The East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study which commenced in 2016, is the first open ocean ecosystem restoration study to use the Army Corps new 3x3x3 feasibility study model.

The report focuses on a Tentatively Selected Plan, which proposes the corps’ first open-ocean ecosystem restoration project in the nation. The plan looks to deliver an assortment of reefs, and eelgrass beds, referred to as the Reef Restoration Plan.

“This is the culmination of a 14-year project to use science and data to present potential solutions to ecosystem restoration and water quality,” said Tom Modica, acting city manager. “We thank the Army Corps for working with the city to study this critically important question and encourage the community to review the scientific study and participate in the public comment period.”

Public comments will be available from Nov. 29 through Jan. 27, 2020, and two meetings will also be held on Dec. 9 at the Aquarium of the Pacific. The meetings will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The breakwater, originally erected in 1941 during Naval occupation of the bay, has drawn its share of criticism calling to question its necessity.

Organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation of Long Beach advocate for the removal of the breakwater, claiming that the wall breaks natural ocean currents, breaks waves, and prevents natural circulation that would provide a natural filtration system that would result in a cleaner shoreline.

The foundation strongly opposed the proposals of the preliminary report and even prompted Mayor Robert Garcia to sound off on the matter via his Twitter account Nov. 25.

“I am incredibly disappointed with the results and conclusions made by the Army Corps,” Garcia said. “I’ve agreed with many members of the community who believe that modifications to the breakwater could lead to ecosystem restoration, better water quality and recreational opportunities.”

A copy of the drafted Integrated Feasibility report is available at each branch library as well as City Hall. The document will be available to the public upon request until Jan. 27, 2020.

The city will then incorporate public comments and convene with the Army Corps to create a final report.

For more information on the report, visit  www.spl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Projects-Studies/East-San-Pe... or send public comments to ESPB@usace.army.mil, with the subject line “East San Pedro Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study Draft IFR Review Comments.”



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