Long Beach Breakwater: Complete removal not recommended; public meeting presents study results Monday

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long-beach-breakwaterThe public is invited to attend a Mayor and City Council Special Study Session to review findings of the Long Beach Breakwater Reconnaissance Study on Monday, July 27 at 5:00 p.m. in Long Beach City Council Chambers.

The Breakwater Reconnaissance Study, which was commissioned by the Long Beach City Council and conducted by Moffatt & Nichol, a local engineering firm, is already available for review on the Breakwater website at: http://www.longbeach.gov/citymanager/ga/breakwater/default.asp.

The breakwater study was conducted in the manner and format of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study, since the Long Beach Breakwater is owned and operated by the federal government, and any changes to the breakwater need to follow an Army Corps study process. The study includes a 905(b) Analysis and Project Management Plan (PMP).

Multiple attachments and an executive summary also accompany the study and may further elucidate the findings of the study.  The breakwater study represents the culmination of three public meetings involving more than 100 community members, dozens of stakeholder group and resource agency interviews, and expertise from Moffatt & Nichol.

Within the study, Moffatt & Nichol identify five basic alternatives to analyze for potential costs and benefits.  Complete removal of the Long Beach breakwater is not recommended in the study as a feasible option, as there are too many negative impacts that cannot be effectively mitigated in a cost-effective manner. The study does not conclude whether or not there is federal interest, as that function can only be performed by the Army Corps. However, the Study does provide evidence that many of the alternatives considered could both restore the ecosystem and create recreational value.

The reconnaissance study is just one of the initial stages in a multi-year, multi-million dollar process that could potentially lead to reconfiguring the breakwater.

A Special Study Session will review findings of the Breakwater Reconnaissance Study this Monday, July 27 at 5:00 p.m. in Long Beach City Council Chambers, 333 West Ocean Boulevard.

The Study Session will consist of an oral presentation by Moffatt & Nichol explaining the results of the study and an outline of potential next steps.  The meeting will also include an opportunity for questions from the Mayor and City Council as well as an opportunity for the community to comment on the study results. As this is a Study Session of the City Council, no formal City Council action will be taken.

In the meantime, any questions or comments should be emailed to breakwater@longbeach.gov, or directed to (562) 570-5091.

What’s Next for the Breakwater Study?

Earlier this year the Long Beach requested federal assistance in securing funds for the Army Corps to accept and review the breakwater study, and make a determination of federal interest. While the study itself is funded by the City of Long Beach and the Coastal Conservancy, federal funds are needed for Army Corps to review the City’s study and determine if there is enough federal benefit to move to the next step, which is an in-depth Feasibility Study. In June, Congresswoman Laura Richardson announced $100,000 in the House Appropriations Subcommittee Energy and Water Report for a review of the Long Beach Breakwater Reconnaissance Study.

There are still numerous steps that must occur before the funds will be secured. These steps include a vote by the full House Appropriations Committee, a vote by the full House of Representatives,a similar process on the Senate side, and then potentially a conference committee decision if the amounts were not exactly equal in the two bills.

While the Congressional schedule varies every year, Congress attempts to pass all their appropriation bills prior to September 30, as October 1 is the beginning of their fiscal year, so we hope to know by then if this funding is secure.

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