Lawsuit against Malibu lagoon restoration fails

October 28, 2011 § 67 Comments

Creekfreak readers may recall we’ve written about the proposed restoration of Malibu Lagoon – so just a quick update, Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith sided with the state, allowing the restoration to move forward.  I hope that we can save the state additional attorney’s fees by letting the dust settle and moving on with the project.

News links:

LA Times 

Malibu Patch

Announcement 11 November 2011 – from Joe & Jessica – We’ve closed the comments on this post – for two weeks worth of cooling off. We love L.A. Creek Freak as a place where folks can discuss L.A. Creek Freak stuff… so we encourage comments – as long as they’re civil and more-or-less on topic. The comment thread on some stories degenerates into not so civil, and not so on topic. When the disrespectful language gets going too strongly, we unpaid volunteer bloggers jump in and try to get folks to be respectful… then the topic threads become a critique of what a bad job we’re doing moderating the discussion. Sometimes then when we don’t approve comments right away (because we’re doing our jobs or just don’t have the interest in parsing through the unpleasant stream of comments), frustrated commenters follow up with accusatory emails to us. This isn’t really what we signed up for, nor do we feel that it’s what L.A.’s creek freak communities need right now. We’d rather be doing stuff that we have ganas for (and/or what we get paid to do) and not refereeing judgmental commentary… so we’re taking a roughly two-week break on comments on this story. During that time we hope to go back to actually writing creek freak stories! Thanks for your patience.



§ 67 Responses to Lawsuit against Malibu lagoon restoration fails

  • I disagree with parts of the project, and would like to see some modifications to it, then move forward. Assurance and care shown to wildlife that is established there is what has been missing. The judge’s comments didn’t help, so there’s that. I hope all of the talented people concerned with the project will come together on their own. Occupy Malibu Lagoon!

    • “I hope all of the talented people concerned with the project will come together..”

      We have come together. After ten years of work we have a good plan to restore the lagoon. Marcia knows next to nothing, she’s paid very well by Malibu Colony anti-environmentalists and is doing the best job she can for them to oppose this much-needed project.

    • Assurance and care, even love and compassion. Let’s heal the lagoon, not destroy it. Thank you Princess!


  • Jessica Hall says:

    I appreciate how you’ve expressed your concern. I don’t know your source about the measures taken to care for wildlife during the restoration. A certain amount of disturbance is a given in restoration, the only reason for the disturbance is to improve the quality of habitat post-restoration.

    That said, the proponents at the SMBRC are some of the most wildlife-cautious folk around. Where it may be common practice in the sciences to “take” some wildlife in order to study them, they, for example, have a no-kill policy in their fish surveys at Ballona wetlands. In my conversations with Mark Abramson about Malibu, he described a careful protocol for addressing the fish in the lagoon prior to commencement of regrading. I believe there’s been a lot of misrepresentation of the Malibu and Ballona restoration projects and their proponents that is incredibly unfair and irresponsible. Sorry, Princess – your comment taps into my frustration about this, my reply here not directed at you. There’s a huge distrust of government agencies, scientists and academics that has been fomented by environmentalists against this project – and there’s enough of that kind of crap coming from the right wing in this country.

    It dismays me that we will fight over restoration while the city of LA approves the culverting of a stream in the San Fernando Valley for a parking lot, Stone Canyon Creek is continually at risk of development by a well-appointed developer, the county of LA approves building homes in the floodplain of the Santa Clara River, and no one takes aggressive action to reduce frivolous use of freshwater throughout the west while salmon, vaquita porpoises, and numerous other species hang on to existence by a thread. These issues could use an infusion of the energy and passion of the scale that was leveraged to tie up restoration and cost us all in court/attorney fees.

    • “There’s a huge distrust of government agencies, scientists and academics that has been fomented by environmentalists against this project”

      This is a half-truth. There are excelllent academics, and excellent scientists, biologists, governmental agencies. Some are not open to hearing an opinion that asks for a more reverent approach. Too much human intervention is too much human intervention. We humans, as a species, have that problem. We think we are so great, when really, we need to scoop up a bucketfull of humility, listen and observe more.

      Is that left or right? No, I think it’s just common sense. Money is either well spent or left on the table until it can be used in a more thoughtful way, to serve the interest of nature…which is the highest good a human can do.

      And, I whole-heartedly empathize with your frustration. There are so many projects going on all over the place, and at the same time. It’s difficult to get a handle on everything worthy of protest…or at least an attempt to guide and influence. ((((sigh)))

      Keep up the wonderful Creek Freak blog. I love it.

      Ps. the link to your previous post didn’t get me there (written).. relink that thing, Thank you!

    • Her source is obviously the tards of Save Malibu Lagoon that spew misinformation about the issue for their own personal profit.

      • Joe Linton says:

        Matthew – I urge you to please stick to the issues. Calling Save Malibu Lagoon folks “tards” undermines your critique. Please refrain from using this sort of dismissive language, or we won’t be able to approve your comments.

      • I am sorry for that unfair insult. Marcia and Ron are intelligent people that truly care for fellow people and for our environment.. I just cannot understand why they are so insistent on stating misinformation when they know it is untrue.

      • Hartmut Walter, retired UCLA professor specializing in ecosystem analysis, endangered species conservation, biogeography, and conservation education, is opposed to this project. He has not been paid a penny for his views of Malibu Lagoon. Since 1972 he has been visiting the lagoon, and has also taken students there for field trips. Other UCLA scientists who specialize in wetlands and biology have mentioned that the studies Rich Ambrose published were never peer reviewed. Many informed and concerned professionals were readily available to contribute, without being paid, to this restoration. The fact that they were ignored speaks loud and clear. I think the new word for non-profit should be corporation because that is what is happening. This is a plan to make millions, not to heal wetlands.

  • Mike Letteriello says:

    I’m somebody who even cares about the tiny critters scooting around in pond scum. I regularly collect them and include them in our pond project in our school nature center.

    That having been said, however, I see no problem with even major alterations to the Lagoon. My experience with aquatic life is that it comes back like gangbusters extremely quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Lagoon were doubly healthy and flourishing after the disturbance.
    (I don’t blanketly say that about every environmental alteration.)

    And it’s a shame to pit one responsible restorationist against another.
    But such are the times we live in when we’re all trying to figure out how to move forward to preserve what we have left of the planet. We do remember that we are all allies even during our disagreements.

  • Princess Hahamongna says:

    I am so grateful to you both for your response to my comment.

    We have a climate change in the environmental movement. There seems to be a healthy number of fake “greens”, i.e. old school sel-serving urban planner/developers that simply think by wearing the cloak of a trend, they’ll be able to capitalize on it in their same old “I got mine” way.

    So, I appreciate your depth and apparent sincerity very much.

  • A mother of a surfer who spoke last week at Malibu City Council on this topic perhaps said it best — when environmental groups disagree, maybe that should be a sign that something is askew, and things should be reconsidered. There has been no effort toward such a resolution whatsoever.

    Princess Hahamongna, thank you for your support of the wildlife and the lagoon. While there are likely good intentions, the project proponents have not been willing to hear the scientific evidence that shows the way this project has been planned is based on OUT-DATED and INACCURATE science.

    Plus, both Mark Gold of Heal the Bay and Suzanne Goode of State Parks have said in public forums that this project was *not* designed to clean the water. The administrative record also includes statements to that effect. So – then we are left with — what species, SPECIFICALLY, is the restoration supposed to benefit?

    We’ve only gotten two answers, when pressing repeatedly — Steelhead Trout (which is not currently at Malibu Lagoon, and will not likely successful breed in the Creek until and unless Rindge Dam is removed) and Jackknife Clams (which are not appropriate for this system, which is too fresh in its nature to support).

    Given the tremendous life that is present in the lagoon – especially in the summer breeding seasons when this project is planned for – we must continue to speak up for the wildlife, the misunderstood ecology of the lagoon and the world-famous surf break – which was not studied, even though it was impacted greatly when a previous, less invasive project was undertaken.

    While Judge Goldsmith ruled that the project could proceed, from his point of view, we must remind everyone of what he said in May:

    “The harm that would result from the project approved by the California Coastal Commission would be severe. The Court finds the project would damage various types and species of flora and fauna, several of which are endangered. Birds in the area, some of which are endangered, would be deprived of food sources found in the lagoon. Petitioners have shown to the satisfaction of the Court that many species and their habitat would not recover.”

    • Bless your courageous soul, Marcia.

    • Real environmental groups all agree that the phony environmental group Save Malibu Lagoon is a bunch of whack-jobs.

      Judge Goldsmith’s ruling in May 2011 was based on the crap he read in your lawsuit. Now that the court has taken the time to thoroughly review the issue, it is obvious to the court that your claim has no merit.

      Concerning steelhead trout:

      Once again you obviously know nothing about the issue but insist on spewing misinformation.

      I have conducted more than a dozen snorkel surveys in Malibu Creek. During the winter when flow are up and visibility is limited, we see very few steelhead. During summer months we typically see 200 to 400 trout of all ages from less than an inch to more than 30 inches long. I saw and photographed a female steelhead digging her redd immediately downstream from Rindge Dam with a half-dozen eager males swarming around ready to spawn with her as soon as she released her eggs.

      Malibu Creek steelhead have two major problems. Rindge Dam is a barrier to upstream migration. The toxic conditions in Malibu Lagoon are a barrier to downstream migration.

      • Joe Linton says:

        This is your last warning, Matthew. We won’t approve comments that include dismissive name-calling including calling people “whack jobs.” You’re welcome to critique me, or whomever you want… but please stick to issues. If you continue to call names, your comments won’t appear here.

    • Hey Marcia and Roy,

      I you want to improve Malibu Creek’s ecosystem, how about you come out to a volunteer restoration event once in a while? They happen almost every week.

      Swing a sledgehammer, break up a concrete dam, and haul the pieces out of the creek. Rip out invasive ivy and vinca, spread mulch, dig some holes and plant native shrubs and trees. Swim through frigid waters and count the steelhead and other fish. Yank trash, abandoned automobiles, refrigerators, and shopping carts out of the mud and toss them into a dumpster.

      I’ve been to several hundred of these events and have never seen you there. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

      • We – Roy and I and other Save Malibu Lagoon supporters – did participate in the Earth Day clean-up that California State Parks Foundation sponsored. And we clean-up trash on a regular basis along the trails when we are leading nature walks there.

        The community-based restoration event that happened that day was the sort of activity we would like to see regularly at Malibu Lagoon. The rationalizations for bringing in heavy equipment to remove ACRES of NATIVE vegetation do not wash for those of us paying attention to the details.

        And the science that the USGS has now brought forth, combined with the “no discharge” regulations during specific months of the year from Tapia wastewater treatment plant AND what we know about the needs of the endangered Tidewater Goby, all bring into question the original reasons for this proposal.

        It’s too invasive, and it’s no longer even necessary — even if the original reasons for doing this seemed like a good idea to some. Why is there no effort to revisit the decision, based on this new information?

    • Joe, I am sorry for stooping to the level of SML’s tactics. It will not happen again.

  • Pam Finck says:

    I feel like Heal the Bay and State Parks are like the big banks on Wall Street with little regard to the 99% wildlife and surfers who feel like they don’t have a voice in this mess. The the City of Malibu, like the Federal Government are doing nothing to stop the corruptness.

    • I hope you learn more about this. You apparently know only lies from that phony group Save Malibu Lagoon. I’ve worked with Heal the Bay for ten years as an employee and as a volunteer and everything they do makes a huge difference to the health of our coast. Among other things, we’ve done thousands of beach cleanups and forced the powers that be to finally begin enforcing the 1972 Clean Water Act.

      I’ve volunteered with Surfrider Foundation for 25 years. They are in favor of this project. 99% of Malibu surfers are in favor of this project. They stay out of the controversy because they trust us to do a good job for their ocean.

  • Annie_Wycke says:

    One of the very saddest aspects of this project is that the proponents will have the right to revisit the lagoon every five years or so and re-bulldoze again and again until they “get it right,” whatever that is. The 9-foot-deep lake they plan to create — that never ever existed before — will be permanent and create a peninsula out of the row of homes along the beachfront. Unwise with rising sea levels. Forget the destruction of the Third Point wave. The fact that Malibu’s famous wave will be further degraded and flattened is minor compared with the damage done to wildlife. The biggest irony is that a key geologist active with the proponents noted that the Monterey Formation, a geological strata over which creek waters pass before they reach the lagoon, will perpetually restore all the bacteria to the water that the proponents seek to remove. So engineers will have an ongoing project forever. State Parks will be trying to remove naturally occurring bacteria. That, plus the nonharmful-to-humans bird poop which U.S. G.S. Geologist John izbicki showed to be the other source of constant bacteria . But, I suppose if they are successful in removing all the thousands of birds from the lagoon, then maybe they won’t have to worry about bird poo . . . . or the endangered species that are there, either. A perfect example of destroying something in order to save it. Conflict among environmentalists? Maybe if they had actively sought out a consensus from all constituents prior to coming up with their one-sided, pro-bulldozer, pro-concrete, pro-steel plan when they were planning this, then there would not be such divisiveness. Neither I nor any of the people opposing this project had any idea that it was hatching for all the years during which these unpublicized meetings were occurring. Not one mention of them in any of the local newspapers following the completion of the parking lot at the lagoon. And it is unfair to compare this with other projects. Attention is needed for all of the other environmental projects mentioned. However, if so-called environmentalists favor such aggressive and destructive plans as this, and with groups like Chevron represented by employees and former employees on the boards of some of these so-called environmental groups such as the proponents in this case, as you say, big questions can be raised about the effectiveness of any wetlands environmental organizations. The big ones have been greenwashed and have sold out while the little, purist ones that represent true, unbought science probably lack the money or political clout to be effective. In the end, maybe Hemingway was right: Take the dope, drink the booze, and fornicate.

    • Where do I begin?

      The Monterrey Formation contains and supplies no bacteria to Malibu Creek.

      The restoration project removes concrete and does not add any.

      Marcia Hanscom and Roy Van de Houk were on the project’s Citizen’s Advisory Council and were entirely informed about the project throughout it’s development.

      The project will have zero effect on the surf break.

      The newly-configured lagoon wil be much smaller and shallower than the original pre-development lagoon.

      To imply that Chevron has a stake in this is just completely *&^%$%^&&**ed up.

    • “the little, purist ones”

      This reminds me of when I was on the committee planning a “Bioregional Conference” in Arcata, Northern California, in 1982. We were plagued by a bunch of “Purists” who messed up many of our plans while claiming that they were the only “true” environmentalists . Their main spokeshole, Bill Duvall, claimed to represent Earth First! If you know Earth First! you know that they are an anarchist group that has no official spokespeople.

      When the meeting adjourned I got on my bicycle to ride home. I found myself behind Bill Duvall who was driving an old smog-spewing gas-guzzling car. We both lived a few miles away but he was so lazy he decided to drive there. Stuck behind him, I got a good look at his rear bumper stickers. One said “No Offshore Drilling” The other said “No Compromise in Defense of Mather Earth” Here I was behind him inhaling the fumes from his compromising smog machine. Some Purist!!

  • I’ve worked several thousand days conducting surveys throughout the Malibu Creek watershed on water chemistry, riparian vegetation, erosion, sedimentation, and aquatic organisms including benthic macro-invertebrates, algae, turtles, amphibians, and fish. I have conducted dozens of snorkeling and seine net surveys for fish from the beach upstream to Rindge Dam. I’ve wallowed in Malibu Lagoon up to my neck dozens of times measuring dissolved oxygen and water circulation.

    I know what’s happening in Malibu Creek. Roy and Marcia (the anti-environmentalists who want to stop the project) don’t have a clue.

    Based on my extensive experience, in my opinion the Malibu Lagoon restoration project is vital to enhance ecological conditions in the relalively puny lagoon that is the largest coastal wetland between Point Mugu and Ballona Creek.

  • If you want to see stream restoration at its finest, watch this video of a dam being blown up in Washington. Sure, it looks ugly and violent, but the real damage to the river happened when the dam was built. In a few years the river will be clean, beautiful, and full of salmon.

  • Charlie says:

    All of you who think the lagoon is going to be ‘ruined’ by a restoration effort…

    go visit Malibu Creek after a storm. I’m not talking one like the little guy that just went through. I’m talking the storms of 2004-2005 that dropped 10+ inches of rain in the watershed in just a few days.

    I’ve heard the flow of Malibu Creek in full flood compared to the flow of the Mississippi at its lower summer levels. I don’t have a citation for that… but whatever the amount of water is that comes down during those floods, it is immense. You can see bundles of flood debris wedged dozens of feet off the ground in sycamore or alder branches, in the case of trees strong enough to withstand a flood.

    My point? There are legitimate concerns about the ‘backwater’ part of the lagoon, which isn’t scoured by floods… which is why it needs to be fixed. Obviously, care should be taken with any restoration project. However, the ecosystem is incredibly resilient to disturbance, and it WILL recover quickly from changes during restoration. After one good flood you probably won’t even be able to tell it happened.

    I know it isn’t fun to see heavy equipment in or near waterways. We had a lot of that here in Vermont during Irene – and some of it was doing things that did a lot more harm than good. But, the fact is, sometimes you DO need human tools to help nature undo the damage from other human tools in the past. As Jessica said, the real ruiner of streams, the real dealbreaker that takes our waterways away from us and their other animal and plant residents – for our lifetime and possibly centuries to come – is channelization, creation of concrete culverts, loss of flood plains to development… wholesale destruction of upper watersheds these are the things we should be concentrating on stopping. I know it’s hard to see any changes in areas like Malibu Lagoon but I would ask those like Marcia who are attacking this project (and the one involving REMOVING a concrete culvert in Ballona !!! ) please, think about the big picture before expending time and resources attacking something like this. Our house is burning down, and instead of grabbing another hose and helping, you are yelling at the firefighters trying to put the fire out. In the long term, your contribution may not be what you hope and dream for.

  • [comment deleted due to inflammatory and insulting language]

  • I’m sorry Jessica and Joe if my comments seem offensive. Many of us dedicated hard-working people working in Southern California stream restoration have been plagued by these peoples’ BS for many years.

  • [comment deleted due to insulting language]

  • Dr. Alessandra says:

    My oh my what slander comes from the Horns… good last name … in Italian you would be a person who would be given the “horn” sign.
    What I’m getting at is that you are not only ego-tripping but slandering both the lagoon and people who disagree with the Horns. You certainly have your agenda all planned out and it seems mainly to slander Marcia, Roy and any one who doesn’t agree with you and opposes this plan. Be careful what lies YOU say… there is no money being thrown at Marcia or Wetlands Defense. In fact, you make me wonder if there isn’t money being thrown at YOU to sit on a blog and vomit your beliefs in such an offensive way. Yea for you – you want the project – and I’m sure you will make money on it too. I was a volunteer with Heal the Bay since the beginning and cleaned plenty of beaches and other activities. I didn’t blindly believe them and I didn’t blindly believe the Wetlands Defense group. I investigated things on my own.. in all different corners – and what I discovered made me have my new saying “the more I know the more I wish I didn’t know”. So if any of these people really want to know the truth I suggest that they find out for themselves – not from the lies that you put out and not even from Wetlands Defense. And by the way the links in the site are ligit! Anyone can find out things if they want… do the research and then do it again backwards and forwards… Boy what a surprise they’ll find out.
    Oh, did I mention all the money that’s involved and the “coming back to do it again if it doesn’t work stuff” will help keep that money in their pockets. Mother Nature does a good job taking care of her children… let things evolve and look into less invasive methods.. All parties should sit down and look at ALL the different alternatives and find simpler more environmentally caring ways to do any project.
    Take a rest M. Horns we got ya drift!

    • Joe Linton says:

      Dr. Alessandra – Please critique the issue and not the name of the commenter. Getting drawn in to back-and-forth trading of jabs doesn’t help your point.

    • I accept all criticisms of my posts and am now determined to submit only civil respectful statements.

      I promise to reply to factual errors on the part of other bloggers not with personal attacks, but simply with the facts.

    • Between your uncivil posturing statements you make at least one good point: Don’t believe anything you read on this blog, get out into the real world, gain some personal experience, and form your own opinion.

      I am heartened that you have also jumped in to clean our beaches. Don’t know haw many times you have done this, I’ve participated in more than 100 beach and creek cleanups, but people that have worked at just one are few and far between. I salute you for your dedication to Mother Earth.

      Considering your comments about money, from my personal experience they are way off base.

      Considering your opinions about facts vs. lies, you don’t seem to have much personal experience to draw on.

    • Concerning my last name:

      I have been subjected to teasing about my name since elementary school and it rolls off me like water from a duck. Even now, one of my current employers, a hydro-geologist who hires me to assist in water chemistry investigations throughout the Santa Monica Mountains, calls me “Horndog.”

      Here’s where the name came from:

      Six generations ago a family by the name “Von Horn? immigrated to the U.S. At the immigration office on Ellis Island, they saw numerous other “Von Horn”s change their name by simply dropping the “Von” and becoming “Horn.” My Great great great great great Grandfather wanted to be a little different, so he registered his family under the name “Horns.” There are very few of us. When I was a kid we were the only “Horns” listed in the Los Angeles Phone book.

  • Jessica Hall says:

    I’m about ready to step in and close comments for Malibu-related posts, which would go against a policy Joe and I settled on long ago. Personal attacks distract everyone from the actual issues – and that goes to both sides here – and frankly I can do without it.

    As I’ve stated, I believe there is plenty of misrepresentation of the proponents and design of the restoration. It is indeed challenging to untangle these without fueling “he said, she said” dynamics. But I strive to by focusing on the issues of design and the design process, and hope that you will join me in trying to maintain that ethic.

    • Please explain anything from the restoration proponents that you suspect are “misrepresentations.” If you post any information that makes sense, I am open to changing my opinion.

  • Dr. Alessandra says:

    I agree… I don’t like personal attacks – I made my comment harsh because I noted that the topic was going off and into slander instead… thank you for mentioning ethics.
    I taught ethics – and agree that the topic should be addressed and personal attacks/slander be avoided.

    • Joe Linton says:

      If you don’t like personal attacks, don’t make them. Learn this or your comments will be deleted. Please focus on the issue at hand.

      • Dr. Alessandra says:

        Hello Joe,
        I’m on your side – I agreed that the comments were off .Gee I guess you misunderstood my intent…. I only went in and wrote my first comment in that way so the point WOULD be taken. And it seems it has.

        With Mr. Horns I counted 2 slanderous comments then you warned him. Then he made 3 more slanderous comments and you again warned him. He continued anyway and made 5 more slanderous comments and you did delete the sixth one he made. But he still continued with 4 more slanderous comments and you again deleted the next comment. Quite a lot of comments he was able to get in.

        I wrote 2 and you immediately warned me…. Thanks.- but I get it Joe – again I wrote what I wrote for effect. You know – make a cause you get an effect. It was a quick effect this time!

        Enough said.
        Ever Onward!

  • Jessica Hall says:

    Again, people, insulting characterizations in comments will not be posted. I have a little backlog of insinuations that I will not edit on your behalf. I will simply not post the comment(s). I will delay posting your other comments due to simple mental exhaustion of weeding through this crap.

    You don’t get to call someone a terrorist on this blog unless they actually throw molotov cocktails.

  • This controversy reminds me of a heatedwe debate that occurred in Topanga Creek State Park almost ten years ago. The creek was infested with arundo donax, one of the most destructive invasive plants in Southern California. State Parks proposed eradicating arundo by using tiny amounts of glyphosate (trade name, Round-Up). A bunch of well-meaning locals objected and raised such a stink that State Parks held off on their use of herbicide and allowed the objectors a chance to remove the arundo themselves using only manual labor.

    I was there with them. We worked our butts off and had a great time in the lovely environs of Topanga Creek. Thirty people removed around 100 square feet of arundo in five hours. Doing the math, manual labor removes 0.62 square feet per person per hour. That pathetic statistic is because arundo sends its rhizomes five feet deep. Of course, some people accomplish more, and some accomplish less. That’s the average that was carefully documented.

    That left another 20,000 square feet or so of arundo remaining. Removing that would require ~30,768 person-hours. A lot of arundo would remain and would quickly spread because no one can effectively remove all rhizomes that are buried down to five feet deep. The job would take so long that it would be like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. By the time the job is finished it’s time to to start it over again.

    I’ve worked on several other manual arundo removal projects that had similar results. For example, when working for Heal the Bay, me (an old fart but still near my prime physically) and 24-year-old RG (you know who you are) were assigned to remove a 5×5 patch of arundo ate confluence of Malibu and Las Virgenes Creeks. We almost killed ourselves removing the plants in two full work days but couldn’t get the deep roots out.

    State Parks went with very careful application of glyphosate in Topanga and Malibu Creek, both of which support many species of endangered plants, birds, fish, frogs, turtles, mammals,we and amphibians. They have removed and continue to remove thousands of square feet of arundo that would continue to spread if they didn’t kill it.

    My point is, 8 years ago many of us were antagonists over one issue. During the intervening time we have worked together on numerous other volunteer projects that have brought us together again.

    To quote my favorite quote:

    “Let’s not look back in anger, or ahead in fear, but around in awareness.”

    Ogden Nash, 1955

  • Dr. Alessandra says:

    A 50% white vinegar and 50% water mixture does the exact same thing as the Monsanto killer RoundUp.
    My conversations with U.S. Department of Agriculture, CA Department of Agriculture, The Department of Fish and Game, The Southern California Department of Pesticide Regulations and especially from the County Agricultural Commission (Southern California Division) were quite alarming. The Southern California Division of the County Agricultural Commission told me that all the Agencies work together and make decisions as to which poison to use where – and all agree to this decision – there is no room for alternatives. When I mentioned the use of Round Up and the evident health risks (and told him how I got ill and my dog from a neighbor using Round Up) – he agreed with me. I then said how white vinegar mixed 50 – 50 with water can do the same thing, without harming the earth or leaving anything in the soil – again he agreed. But when I asked how come Round Up is used without interference from his department, he told me that the vinegar/water mixture could be used on private land – but if there’s a vineyard or commercial use then Round Up is the product that is listed that MUST be used. It seems that Monsanto is not only meshed into the farmers – who MUST buy Monsanto Round Up treated soy beans – but now so wrapped into governmental agencies that Round Up is the documented product to use. And people just march out and buy all these poisons – no wonder there are so many environmental problems!
    This is why I support questioning authority- schools, environmental/animal organizations, the government! There’s a lot of back slapping and money sliding into hands that goes on.

    There is ALWAYS a less invasive method to do things if one really cares.


    • Jessica Hall says:

      I’m no fan of glyphosate either, and I keep hearing that there is research documenting its toxic effects on fish, contrary to the standard lines about it breaking down harmlessly. But I haven’t been able to actually get ahold of the research.

      By the way, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission’s Executve Director, Shelley Luce, has also repeatedly expressed concern about the use of glyphosate. While I worked there under her, the agency didn’t fund weed removal with it. And that took guts for, as you observe, the standard protocol accepted by many biologists is to use it.

    • Glyphosate causes many problems. In one garden I worked in, the landlord had used it to kill ivy growing on a fence. It also killed a beautiful healthy 50-year-old fir tree growing next to the fence. That’s because he applied it incorrectly.

      I vary rarely use glyphosate, only as a last resort. I always use tiny amounts of it carefully and precisely applied during warm dry weather. In the last year I’ve only used it three times. Once was on bamboo that was spreading from my client’s yard into the neighbor’s yard. I cut the bamboo in the neighbor’s yard (with their permission of course) and applied a few drops to the stump of each cut bamboo stalk. The other two times were along cracks in a driveway and outdoor patio where it was impossible to pull weeds out by their roots. I first tried vinegar but it had no effect. Then I tried more concentrated vinegar and that had no effect. I used tiny amounts of glyphosate and it did the job.

      My gardening business concentrates on organic gardening practices, but once in a great while I’ll compromise. If I don’t do it, the property owner will and will probably use too much. On another job I tried vinegar on bamboo invading from the neighbor’s yard that was sprouting up through my client’s asphalt driveway. It did nothing. A few weeks later I returned to see all the bamboo was dead. I asked what happened, and the guy had poured gasoline on it. I prefer that if a toxic is going to be used, that I am the one to apply it because I will use the right product and will apply it correctly.

    • From what I understand, glyphosate quickly beaks down in warm temperatures, but many of the decomposition products are toxic, and some are more toxic than glyphosate. Healthy soil contains a myriad of fungi, and over time the fungi breaks down these decomposition products into non-toxic compounds.

      I could be wrong, but it seems to me that tiny amounts of glyphosate applied during the warm season in areas with healthy soil will not cause a problem.

    • It’s not totally clear in this post, but it seems that you imply that grape farmers in California are mandated to use glyphosate to control weeds.

      This makes no sense to me. California has thousands of Certified Organic grape growers that use no glyphosate, and many more convert every year.

      Apparently the truth is that vinegar is not approved by the EPA for weed control. This makes sense to some degree. Vinegar is highly acidic and if it is applied heavily to commercial organic farm soil it can kill the soil biota that is an integral part of organic farming. Plus, if it washes or leaches into watercourses it can have a devastating effect on aquatic ecosystems.

      That does not mean that organic grape growers have no approved organic weed control methods. They are thriving and making a huge impact on the planet’s slide toward organic farming. They must be coping with this restriction pretty well.

      • Dr. Alessandra says:

        I come from a family of organic gardeners… I can take you to one right now in Camarillo that has used only the 50-50 vinegar solution for over 25 years. The soil is still rich. When used in the correct ratio there will never be soil damage – and when doing the maintenance watering this dilutes it even more.
        However, RoundUp KILLS the soil! Everyone knows that!
        I find the best thing is to just pull the weeds… but I don’t believe in “weeds” and let everything grow…unless it’s an invasive non-native… then I pull.
        Oh, if I find poison oak I have someone come and dig it out!

  • Several people have accused proponents of the Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project, including Heal the Bay, of secretly working for upstream developers. Here is one example of many to prove them wrong.

    Anyone remember the proposed Ahmanson Ranch Development? While Heal the Bay does not take any position for or against any development (the NRDC takes care of that), Heal the Bay collects and presents data that is intended to make sure that any decisions regarding development are based on accurate and thorough information.

    While the debate raged about the Ahmanson Ranch proposal, Heal the Bay’s Malibu Creek Stream Team (of which I was an integral part) trespassed on their property dozens of times collecting information on aquatic habitat provided by East Fork Las Virgenes Creek and several of its tributaries. A security guard patrolled the area in a big white Suburban, and many times we scrambled into poison oak-infested brush to evade him.

    We found many deficiencies in the developer’s EIR concerning aquatic resources. We documented many perennial stream reaches that the EIR claimed were ephemeral. We documented endangered red-legged frogs far outside the area that the EIR claimed that they were restricted to.

    Our data was presented to all the regulatory agencies that were making decisions concerning the validity of developer’s EIR and we proved that the EIR was sorely deficient and inaccurate. Our data was a significant factor in the denial to approve the development, and in the final decision to protect the area as a precious Nature Preserve.

  • Here’s another example:

    While working for Heal the Bay in February 2005, I noticed severe gully erosion on a fill slope along Las Virgenes Road where Shea Homes was grading for a big residential development. My Boss Mark Abramson directed me to investigate the matter thoroughly. I found a huge mud deposit along the east bank of Las Virgenes Creek and measured it at 1000+ cubic yards. This was a gross violation of their grading permit that required them to install extensive erosion control and sediment retention structures that, if implemented, would have prevented that huge mess.

    CDF&G enforcement Officer Cindy Woods was assigned the case. She determined that Shea Homes’ negligence caused serious harm to the creek and levied them a fine of $34,000. They fought back, and kept fighting despite the fact that they were obviously culpable. In the end, Shea Homes paid a fine of $125,000. Heal the Bay didn’t get any of that money, Shea Homes had to spend it to restore the creek.

  • There are plenty of inflammatory and insulting comments that one of the project proponents was allowed to make and which are still on this site. Perhaps because of the bias of at least one of the blog co-authors?

    My own motivation is sincerely and firmly to stand and speak for Nature at Malibu Lagoon, and I am not interested in personally attacking those who have a different view.

    However, because we are apparently effective in our organizing, Roy & I have been targeted with unfair and inaccurate accusations. Personal attacks from the project proponents are legion. Although we are considered “public figures” – there are lines that are being crossed in terms of libelous statements. That is not ok.

    • Joe Linton says:

      It almost sounds like you are suggesting that the blog “co-authors” are biased toward “inflammatory and insulting comments.”

      We definitely have our biases, which we should have, and which all humans, all blogs do. I am happy to be biased in favor of restoration of creeks… and biased against insulting comments.

      • Dr. Alessandra says:

        I think what Marcia was referring to was not bias toward inflammatory and insulting comments, but to those that make them.

        Back a week or so ago I counted 2 slanderous comments then you warned the person. Then this person made 3 more slanderous comments and you again warned him. He continued anyway and made 5 more slanderous comments and you did delete the sixth one he made. But he still continued with 4 more slanderous comments and you again deleted the next comment.
        Quite a lot of comments he was able to get in. And they are all still up.

        However, when I wrote only 2 comments you immediately warned me…. and it seems you just did this to Marcia.
        This is what I think Marcia is referring to…

        I guess I also am bias – toward no killing, toward peace on earth, toward letting creatures live in peace, toward everyone being happy, toward fairness, toward love, toward vegetarian way of living…. toward Mother Nature…
        “why can’t we all just get along” (remember that!)

      • Jessica Hall says:

        My preference would be that we no longer approve comments that contain unsubstantiated swipes, insinuations, or personal attacks. If this outrages a poster that is too bad, I would direct them to examine their chosen method of communication.

        And because it is our blog, we do have discretion as to how we understand and interpret that. For me in this case I can distinguish between complaining about the perception of unfairness and the attribution of that to my position on the restoration of the Lagoon. The former is an expression of their perception and as such is fair, the latter is a hypothesis and frankly, an attack on my credibility, i.e. a smear. So I wouldn’t have approved it on those grounds.

        We have indeed allowed many such comments in the past, especially on the Ballona wetlands and Malibu lagoon topics. Personally, I’m not going back into the history to now remove such posts as I don’t have the time! Or interest to revisit the ugliness.

  • Dr. Alessandra says:

    I’m glad the tactic has changed from slandering to showing good points… no matter whose…

    As I recall, RoundUp was on the plans to be used in the Lagoon “restoration” plan… and due to it being pointed out (I believe by Wetlands Defense) it was scratched.

    There are many things that HTB did that were good things… for example, getting people to clean up the beaches is a great thing and hopefully brings more awareness.

    Not everyone is a bad guy – on whatever side they are on… sometimes “they mean well”. But sometimes meaning well is not enough and needs more pondering. And, in this economy it is not a surprise that the money for the Lagoon project be coveted. But it could still be used for a LESS INVASIVE method.

    There comes a time when every organization/association/club, etc. etc. etc. gets corrupt– it’s called people. Some people have agendas that include making sure they have money in their pocket. Nothing wrong with wanting to be able to eat and pay the rent/mortgage…. but many times a back is turned while some “deal” is being made. This is where greed comes in! But this all can be a good thing too – just like doing a little house cleaning… you end up with a clean house.
    What comes to mind, is when Greenpeace went through their corruption phase – the gem that evolved from that was Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd.
    So out of all the Malibu Lagoon back and forth muck, we can all hope that a gem evolves that will take into consideration all the life that happens at the Lagoon daily – and all the nesting that will be happening right when those bulldozers are supposed to plow though.

    As we walk our path
    Sometimes we bend down to tie our shoe
    and we turn a little…
    when we get up to continue
    we are not on the same path….
    ….without realizing.

    • Thank you,

      By the way, the project will begin after the nesting season has ended.

      • This is one of many inaccurate statements made. Which species do you think are not nesting after May 31? Yes, some are finished, but some are just beginning.

        And breeding endangered Tidewater Goby (fish) are present in the western channels throughout the summer. The experts on this fish know the truth about it, and they have written about their findings.

        The worst time possible for this project is during the summer, but the project managers have admitted they might get their big machines stuck in the mud during winter storms… the machines win over the endangered species? Not in my book.

  • Before the project begins a berm will be constructed between the west channel project area and the main channel. The fish in the west channels will be collected and dumped into the main lagoon. I have participated in these types of “fish roundups” and seen that they usually fail miserably. Many of them avoid the nets. Those that are relocated are disoriented and are easy prey to predators.

    I have also participated in fish surveys in the lagoon. In the west channels we collected mostly non-native mosquito-fish, no striped mullet, a couple of grunion and topsmelt, and just a very few tidewater goby. In the main channel we find scads of native fish. Even if no fish are successfully relocated from the west channels, it will make a small dent in native fish populations that live in the lagoon.

  • Dr. Alessandra says:

    “By the way, the project will begin after the nesting season has ended”.

    Tell the snowy plover that!
    The western snowy plover is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a threatened species. This species has become threatened as a result of increasing human and environmental impacts on its nesting habitat. –
    The western snowy plover nests from March 1 through Sept. 30 each year.

    Interesting, VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE closes its beaches to aid the species’ and access is restricted during the bird’s nesting season…

    But there’s still insistence to continue with the project and bulldoze through Malibu Lagoon during the endangered snowy plover nesting season!

    Oh, if I was a fish and you guys came around I’d swim so far and so deep you would never find me!

    “Before the project begins a berm will be constructed between the west channel project area and the main channel. The fish in the west channels will be collected and dumped into the main lagoon. I have participated in these types of “fish roundups” and seen that they usually fail miserably. Many of them avoid the nets. Those that are relocated are disoriented and are easy prey to predators.”

    Gee this is so unstressful!!! For gosh sakes! How would you like to be roundedup! And even after all the miserable failures, they still do this!!!! They think this is helpful!

    I say – Leave the Malibu Lagoon alone and let the fish and birds and other wildlife live in peace!

  • Dr. Alessandra,

    That is awesome that you are involved with organic farming. We have much in common.

    I manage around a dozen organic gardens and have one of my own that I would never consider using herbicides or any other toxins on. I have a large repertoire of organic pest control methods that I use every day including vinegar, soap spray, diatomaceous earth, beer traps, bird baths and native plants that attract birds that eat pests, planting native shrubs that support beneficial insects, and using a heck of a lot of mulch and compost.

    One client’s blueberry plants were being munched on by squirrels last year in Sherman Oaks. Last spring a pair of peregrine falcons nested in a tree nearby. No one in the neighborhood uses anti-coagulant rodenticide so the squirrels were safe to eat, and the squirrel population plummeted. Now that the falcons have migrated south, I use pepper spray on the plants to ward off the squirrels by making the foliage distasteful.

    I have an ongoing problem with aphids and cabbage worms on my collard greens and kale, and scale on my lime tree. I spray them with soap solution to weaken them, then spray them with a jet of water that knocks most of them off, then follow through with picking most of the remaining bugs off by hand.

    I don’t mind at all when I’m eating fresh-picked collards and kale if there are a few cabbage worms and aphids included in the meal.

  • Corruption? I’ve worked closely with all these groups for more than ten years and have seen absolutely no indication of corruption.

    That’s a serious accusation! This is the kind of thing we have pledged to abstain from in this blog, unless you have facts to back it up.

    Everyone that works with them could make much more income working elsewhere. Heal the Bay’s average salary is around $30,000/year. They do it as a labor of love. If money was important they would all quit their jobs.

    Just because you don’t agree with everything they do doesn’t mean they are evil. You have more in common with them than you have differences with them.

  • When I went to work at Heal the Bay I was paid $11.00/hour, which was a huge cut in my income. When I couldn’t afford to work that cheap I started my organic gardening business that pays $25.00/hour. Now I can afford to volunteer for them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Lawsuit against Malibu lagoon restoration fails at L.A. Creek Freak.


%d bloggers like this: