Environment & Science

Army Corps of Engineers to decide value of Long Beach's $8 million study

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will give word Monday to the city of Long Beach on whether it recommends a study to reconfigure a breakwater near the city’s shores. The study comes with a $4 million price tag.

The breakwater is 60 feet high and about eight miles long. It’s made of sand and granite boulders put there more than 100 years ago to protect access to the port.

The Army Corps of Engineers finished it after World War II. But keeping the churn of waves away from the shore has also trapped pollution near Long Beach.

In recent years, the city began discussing how to improve the flow of seawater in an area that has some of the dirtiest water in California. The Army Corps says figuring out how to do that requires study – $8 million worth of study, with the cost split between federal and city governments.

Long Beach business leaders have come out against the plan, saying the city can’t afford to pay for a study now. Waterfront property owners are skeptical, too – but not environmentalists who want a more natural coastal environment or surfers who see potential in freed-up wave action. They want a study – and the breakwater removed.