Advisory / Tonight

Corps of Engrs + City Staff To Discuss Next Steps In Breakwater Reconnaissance Study @ Public Meeting Tonite

For coverage of the meeting previewed below, click here

(May 24, 2010) -- At tonight's final event in "Breakwater Awareness Week," Councilman Patrick O'Donnell's office says representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and city staff will discuss the next steps for LB's Breakwater Reconnaissance study.

The event takes place tonight (May 24) Ecco’s Pizza, 2123 Bellflower Blvd from 7:00-8:30 p.m. (The event is free; the pizza isn't free but it's good).

As separately reported (with video) by, Councilman O' Donnell and supporters of reconfiguring the LB breakwater (to return waves that they say would bring cleaner water and economic benefits) ventured into Belmont Shore's waters on May 22 for a "Paddle Out in Memory of the Waves." (For coverage, click here.)

The events coincide with a pending decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on whether its review of a reconnaisance study (authorized by the City Council, conducted by a private engineering firm, submitted to the Corps last year) supports a finding of sufficient potential federal benefit (federal interest) to warrant a detailed Feasibility study.

The city-submitted study didn't include complete removal of the breakwater (citing too many negative impacts that couldn't be effectively or cost-effectively mitigated)...but did analyze alternatives costing from $10 million to $310 million with wave heights of zero to four times current size. It also didn't conclude if there was or wasn't a federal interest (leaving that to the Corps) but did conclude that many of the alternatives considered could both restore the ecosystem and create recreational value.

Among its findings:

  • Some of the Breakwater reconfigurations have a potential for significant wave energy increases to existing Port infrastructure, THUMS oil islands, Navy anchorage, and City beaches that would require mitigation.

  • If the goal is solely hard bottom habitat ecosystem restoration, then importing rock to create kelp beds and rocky reef habitat is most cost effective; however, that solution would not address the City’s goals of improved water quality, renewing the City’s beaches, or increasing wave activity.

  • The City of Long Beach could gain increases of up to $52 million per year in local spending and economic activity, and potentially up to $6.7 million per year in taxes and parking fees and fines for the maximum recreation improvement scenario.

  • By redirecting the mouth of the Los Angeles River, water quality could likely be improved along the shoreline with or without changes to the Breakwater.

  • All five alternatives examined could provide significant ecosystem restoration and some had recreational benefits exceeding the construction costs; however, four of the five alternatives cost more to build than the SCE Wheeler Kelp Reef on a cost-per-acre basis, due to the costs of reconfiguring the Breakwater or building the LA River training structure.
  • Before the Corps of Engineers makes a finding of a federal interest, the federal agency will require a letter of intent from LB City Hall agreeing to pay 50% of the estimated $7 million of a Feasibility study (meaning $3.5 million from City Hall or other non-federal sources) and eventually 35% of construction costs.

    In addition, Congress would have to fund the federal government's 50% share of the Feasibility Study. Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D, Carson-LB) has supported LB City Hall requests for breakwater-study funding earmarks and has been successful in having them included in federal legislation. To date, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R., HB-LB-PV) [in whose district the Breakwater is] has not submitted requests for federal funding of breakwater study items.

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