LETTER: California State Parks Official Responds to Lagoon Rumors

Craig Sap, superintendent for the California State Parks Angeles District, provides an explanation for issues that opponents to the Malibu Lagoon Project have raised over social media and at a recent Malibu City Council meeting.

Colony protection peninsula

The peninsula nearest the ocean is built per plan with a top elevation of 18 ft. This mound is designed to protect colony residents from flood flows.

Concerns that trenches and wiring are for lighting

Trenching on site is for irrigation lines and the wiring is for the irrigation timer. The upland areas will have temporary irrigation for the first two summer seasons. Additionally, we are installing permanent locations for hose connections around the site for maintenance and future supplemental water if necessary.

Small PVC or ABS pipes that are plumbed into swale from Colony residences

There are 6 PVC and/or ABS pipes that run from Colony residences or private Colony streets that have been plumbed to the newly created rain garden swale that runs along the Colony. The swale is designed to capture, treat, and infiltrate (absorb) stormwater runoff. The Colony has a drainage easement that allows them to drain stormwater runoff onto our property. The rain garden swale is designed like the parking lot rain garden and utilizes specific native plants and soils to treat and infiltrate pollutants associated with stormwater runoff. Additionally, the Colony Rain Garden Swale will have two filters for any flows that might exceed the swale capacity. No discharge occurred from the swale during the last storm event.

Malibu Road Drain

The box culvert that drains onto State Park property collects runoff from several areas including runoff from the golf course, Malibu Road, Colony Shopping center, the Colony, State Highway, and other private property areas. The City of Malibu constructed an inlet within State Park property to collect this runoff.  Once collected, the runoff is then filtered and trash is removed.  The water is then diverted into a wet well where it is pumped to the Stormwater Treatment Facility on the corner of Civic Center Way.  The water is then further treated and used for irrigation in Legacy Park. The pumping system can handle up to 200 gallons per minute.  During a recent storm event some minor flows bypassed the pumping system.  The City of Malibu was on site Monday and Tuesday and determined there was a mechanical failure in one of the pumps.  The pumping system will be fixed as quickly as possible.  The pumps are checked on a weekly basis and the debris collection system is cleaned 3 or 4 times per year. 

Concerns have been expressed regarding a small ridge that runs North to South from the PCH bridge towards the ocean

This ridge is part of the main lagoon and is outside of the grading limits of the Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project. It was always intended that this ridge would remain and is not a mistake or an oversight.

Concerns about roughness and uneven grading

Roughness and uneven grading was intended as part of the project. Depressions and ridges provide micro habitat for vegetation and aquatic wildlife and this micro habitat was installed as part of the project.

Site is muddy

Yes the site is muddy. This is the result of our program of best management practices (BMPs) that prevent runoff from entering Malibu lagoon from the construction site. As a result stormwater is stored on site and creates muddy conditions for a few days following rain events. BMPs are inspected daily when workers are on site and before during and after each storm event. BMPs are also maintained during storm events to ensure no sediments leave the construction site and enter the lagoon. No sediments entered the lagoon from the construction area during the last storm. 

Hillside erosion

In addition to the BMP’s and regular inspection of BMPs all the wetland landscape features are compacted to 85% to prevent erosion of banks. Additionally, all slopes in the wetland area are shallow slopes of 3-1 or less to further minimize any erosion potential.

Plant mortality

More than 20,000 plants have been installed thus far at Malibu lagoon within the wetland area. We have seen no evidence of plants being carried away by tidal flows which can fluctuate as much as 8ft during a single day. Plants have been marked with flags and are regularly inspected. Plants that were installed are small and need to acclimate to their new surroundings. Some plants go through a period of stress when they are initially planted which may cause them to yellow or brown, but they are not dead. The current estimate is that we have greater than 97 percent survival of the plants installed during October. We would be happy with a survival rate above 70 percent.

Questions were asked concerning a ditch or "erosion gulley" on the large colony protective hillslope closest to the ocean

This is a temporary man-made trench for installation of irrigation pipe. It is not a gulley caused by erosion.

In a YouTube video posted by Andy Lyon it was erroneously claimed that the contractors and project representatives were changing the grading because "it is not working"

The meeting recorded by Mr. Lyon was a meeting between the project representatives and the grading contractor discussing items remaining to be completed before the grading contractor is finished and can receive final payment. This meeting is to ensure that all work is complete according to the design and engineering plans and that there are no outstanding items or repairs that need to be addressed.

Craig Sap, Superintendent
California State Parks, Angeles District

Patch accepts and publishes letters to the editor and commentary regarding any relevant local issue. The views expressed in the above commentary do not reflect the opinion of the publication, its editor and/or its writers. Emails may be edited for length and clarity. Have an opinion? Write to the editor of your Patch site at malibu@patch.com.

John Martin December 21, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Thank you Mr. Sap. I'm very impressed with how the powers that be are genuinely trying to address concerns brought up. I'm looking forward to plant growth and a beautiful and successful restoration project. Given a year or two, it really will be a great thing!
Andy Lyon December 24, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Work extended until March now. This lagoon is a JOKE !!!
Andy Lyon December 24, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Check the attached letter. Jessica do a story on that !


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