This is a moment so many of us have been waiting for.
Just a few minutes ago I left a meeting with Brigadier General Mark Toy in San Francisco. In that meeting, we finally reached agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to move forward with a study of our coastal ecosystem.
This means that after more than 15 years of advocacy by the City, community groups, and countless individuals, we will finally find out if reconfiguration of the Long Beach Breakwater is possible.
It’s a historic moment for Long Beach and General Toy will be flying down in the coming weeks for an official signing ceremony of the agreement. The study begins in 2016.
The purpose of the study is to examine the state of the ecosystem in San Pedro Bay and our Long Beach Harbor and to determine what, if anything, can be done to improve it. One possibility, which many Long Beach residents have long discussed, is to alter or remove some part of the Breakwater structure. The Breakwater, built decades ago in part to protect the Navy fleet stationed in Long Beach, has dramatically changed our ecosystem, including water circulation and tidal flow.
The Army Corps will determine if ecosystem restoration is possible without damaging existing properties—including the Port and most importantly coastal residences.
Long Beach and the Army Corps will share the costs of the study, which will take 3 years to complete. This is a major undertaking for the Army Corps and will include some of the best coastal engineers and marine biologists.
I am grateful to the Army Corps for agreeing to move forward with this study, which is so important to our city. It took many years and a great deal of hard work to get here and we still have a long way to go before we see the final results. And to be clear, we intend to launch a robust and inclusive community process with all stakeholders and interested groups—especially coastal homeowners.
I especially want to thank Congressman Alan Lowenthal who was critical in supporting us from Washington DC, Mayor Bob Foster and Vice Mayor Suja Lownenthal for spearheading this effort the last 8 years, Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell for his consistent advocacy, and the current and former City Councilmembers who supported and advocated for this project. In addition, thanks to all the community groups, especially Surfrider, for their continued support and advocacy.