Army Corps of Engineers to study reconfiguration for Long Beach Breakwater
2009-06-29 · By Editor
For several years now, Long Beach residents and government officials have struggled with the issues relating to the breakwater. Congresswoman Laura Richardson announced Friday that she has secured $100,000 in federal funding to authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the Federal interest in a reconfiguration of the Long Beach Breakwater off the coast of Long Beach to improve water quality, promote navigation, preserve coastal zones, and protect property.
Eight miles in length, the Long Beach Breakwater is the longest breakwater in the United States. During World War II, the breakwater protected the ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet from large waves stationed in Long Beach Harbor. The Long Beach Breakwater was authorized in 1930 in the Federal River and Harbor Act. In 1941 construction began on the 2.5-mile eastern leg of the breakwater, which was completed in 1949. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains jurisdiction over the breakwater’s modification or removal.
Primary benefits of the breakwater are that it prevents large waves from disrupting the operations of the port and possible residences. However, by the existence of the breakwater which the normal flow of the ocean current is disrupted and fails to perform its normal function of keeping beach waters free of pollutants. Additionally, some believe, the current configuration of the breakwater has had a significant adverse impact on the area’s water supply, because urban runoff and storm water discharge from the Los Angeles River gets trapped inside the harbor.
In 2007, the Long Beach City Council commissioned a reconnaissance report of the breakwater. The study was the first official step taken to address the community’s questions about the role the Long Beach Breakwater and its impact has on public health, safety and the environment of our community.
The federal funding secured by Congresswoman Richardson will enable the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a Reconnaissance Study to determine whether there is federal interest in altering the breakwater and undertaking the next step of conducting a cost-sharing feasibility study. If there is a Federal interest in altering the breakwater, the Army Corps of Engineers will then create a Project Management Plan (PMP), which documents the purpose of the feasibility study and the tasks that are needed to complete it. The PMP will also describe the agreement between the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Long Beach regarding the sharing of costs and the roles and responsibilities of each party.
“After requesting funding last year, conducting several meetings with the Army Corps and intense negotiations with Appropriations Committee leadership, today all of Long Beach once and for all can review the facts of the longest urban breakwater in the country,” Congresswoman Richardson said.
Congresswoman Richardson noted, “This $100,000 allocation for the Army Corps’s reconnaissance report is one of the most vital allocations this region will receive and it is particularly vital in these economic times to ensure an objective evaluation is made so that all resident, business and government issues and concerns are considered.”