$8.5 Million Restoration Project Complete; Colorado Lagoon Re-Opens

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colorado-lagoon Water Quality Improvements CelebratedThe City of Long Beach re-opened Colorado Lagoon Thursday, after an $8.5 million restoration project that is restoring the Lagoon’s ecosystem, improving water quality and enhancing its recreation facilities.

“Generations of families and visitors have enjoyed the Colorado Lagoon, its natural wildlife, its calm and soothing environment, and its recreational swimming,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “I’m delighted to announce that the Colorado Lagoon is now open for the public to enjoy again.”

Construction for this phase of improvements began in January 2012, and involved dredging approximately 63,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the lagoon, which is one of the area’s only coastal salt marsh lagoons. This project was funded by the State Water Board Clean Up and Abatement Account, the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Community-based Restoration Program, the State Coastal Conservancy, and the City of Long Beach.

“Water quality at the Colorado Lagoon has greatly improved in recent years,” said Councilmember Gary DeLong, who represents the 3rd District. ”This restoration shows what can happen when we all roll up our sleeves and work together.”

Colorado Lagoon is historically part of the greater Los Cerritos Wetlands, which once totaled approximately 2,400 acres in east Long Beach.

“Colorado Lagoon has been a historical environmental centerpiece in Long Beach that has suffered overuse and neglect – posing a health risk to area residents,” said Frances Spivy-Weber, Vice Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “I am glad funds directed by the State Water Board have assisted in the necessary rehabilitation of Colorado Lagoon so it may be safely enjoyed by Southern California for decades to come.”

Previous efforts to improve the water quality at Colorado Lagoon include:

  • $4.3 million in Federal Stimulus Funding to clean an underground culvert to improve water circulation with Alamitos Bay; install bioswales to naturally filter out stormwater contaminants; and install trash traps and a low-flow diversion system to divert some of the most heavily contaminated stormwater into the sewage system.
  • The Los Angeles County Termino Avenue Storm Drain Project included a low-flow diversion system and other water quality improvements that benefit the Colorado Lagoon.

Planned improvements, subject to funding, include:

  • Building an open channel between Colorado Lagoon and Marine Stadium to further improve water quality as tidal flow increases.
  • Constructing a walking trail around the Lagoon and the open channel.

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