Malibu Lagoon State Beach is the site of a tug-of-war among environmentalists with different priorities for wetlands protection.
Malibu firefighter Stephenie Glas co-founded "The Real Malibu 411" as a web presence to promote what she saw as the true story about the restoration of Malibu Lagoon. Her site links to agency plans, court decisions, hearing transcripts, and other technical information directly; she backed restoration of the lagoon. A few days before she died from what was apparently a self-inflicted gunshot, she told me that for people who didn't support the project, or wanted to find out more, she wanted to be a resource. Her friend Cece Stein, a Malibu-based publicist, co-founded the site. Now she's doing informational videos about the restoration as it's happening.
This week Stein interviewed Suzanne Goode from California State Parks & Mark Abramson from the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.
It's amateur, to be sure. But Stein puts questions to Goode and Abramson about some of the hottest topics around lagoon restoration, many of which are raised regularly by opponents of the project. She asks about tidewater gobies, small fish native to California's coastal lagoons and waterways that are federally listed as an endangered species.
Goode says they found "maybe less than a handful" of gobies in the western part of the lagoon, hardly any in the back channel whatsoever. And she tells Stein there have been "no fatalities" of gobies. More interestingly, she says they've been sending pictures to a goby expert of what they've recovered, since there's more than one kind of the small fish, and not all of them are endangered.
Goode also recounts a conversation with the project archaeologist, a woman she describes as "very experienced in monitoring other wetlands sites." This person told Goode she was shocked by the sediment they're pulling out. "It's got "no shells, no worms, no life whatsoever." She says the mud they've taken out is "incredibly devoid of life."