Environment & Science

Restoration continues at Malibu Lagoon as opponents claim illegal activity

A view of Malibu Lagoon in July 2011.
A view of Malibu Lagoon in July 2011.
Marcia Hanscom/Wetlands Defense Fund

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Restoration work at Malibu Lagoon continues even as opponents to the state-funded project claim illegal activity at the work site.

The Wetlands Defense Fund and the Coastal Law Enforcement Action Network are two groups that have pulled out all stops trying to block or at least suspend the long-planned reconstruction of the lagoon. Almost two weeks ago, they asked the California Coastal Commission to investigate what they called an illegal breach of a sand barrier that separates the lagoon from open water.

They claim that unknown people opened up the lagoon, and so construction must stop. They allege that the construction crews are preventing public access, and are using weed killers in sensitive habitat. The Coastal Commission has rejected all these claims in a new letter it sent to the project’s opponents.

Commission staffers say neither the activist groups nor on-site investigations have yielded proof of wrongdoing. The commission’s response letter emphasizes that the $8 million restoration project has all the necessary permits to continue, as planned, during the summer months. State officials maintain that the project will improve the lagoon’s water quality.