Fed interest in Breakwater study sparks councilmembers encouragement of citizens to attend council meeting discussions

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long-beach-harbor-coastline city council breakwater studyRecently, councilmembers received word that the Army Corps of Engineers has reviewed our Reconnaissance Study and determined that there is “federal interest” in taking the next step in further studying changes to the breakwater.  Several members of the city council have expressed interest in removing or modifying the Breakwater, if it will produce better water quality along Long Beach beaches and harbor area. Citizens with a shared interest in the Breakwater issue, are strongly encourage you to attend the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 22 (5:00 pm), when the issue of funding for the next study is discussed. The Breakwater discussion is Item #27 on the agenda.


As previously mentioned, the purpose of the Reconnaissance Study was to determine whether or not there is federal interest for reconfiguration of the Breakwater. The determination of federal interest is a function only the Army Corps could perform. The local office of the Army Corps has determined that federal interest under the Army Corps mission of ecosystem restoration has been found. The final approved report confirming federal interest is expected to be released by the Army Corps on June 18, 2010.

As a federal project, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) maintains jurisdiction over the Breakwater, including any potential modification. On July 24, 2007,the City Council directed staff to fund a Reconnaissance Study of the Long Beach Breakwater at a cost of up to $100,000 to determine if there is federal interest in a reconfiguration of the Breakwater or other changes in the East San Pedro Bay. Through a competitive bidding process, Moffatt & Nichol was selected to conduct the Reconnaissance Study. The City of Long Beach seeks to improve water quality and increase recreational opportunities while ensuring that surrounding infrastructure and operations remain protected and viable. The City’s Reconnaissance Study proposed five potential alternatives. The City’s study concluded that based on preliminary analysis, it may be possible to increase wave activity, improve water quality and improve the ecosystem, all without compromising existing infrastructure or operations. The City’s Reconnaissance Study was completed in July 2009.

The City’s final Reconnaissance Study report was reviewed by the Army Corps, funded through a $90,000 FY 10 federal appropriation secured by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Laura Richardson. The Army Corps’ own Reconnaissance Study of the Breakwater utilized a great deal of the information provided by the City’s Reconnaissance Study.

Should the City Council wish to proceed with a Feasibility Study, the next step in this study process will be to agree upon a Project Management Plan and Federal Cost-Share Agreement (FCSA). These two components are necessary to begin the Feasibility Study. The Feasibility Study is estimated to’ cost $8,291,400 and take at least four years to complete if fully funded; however, the study costs and timeline may change as the study is conducted, depending on the scope of the study. Long Beach and the Army Corps will be partners in this process and spend funds equally and concurrently with each entity responsible for 50 percent of the project costs.

For more information about the staff report or Army Corps of Engineer’s response to the City’s Reconnaissance Study, please visit the City of Long Beach website.

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