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NewsBeat

Public Review of the Topanga Lagoon Restoration Project 

Time is running out to comment on the Topanga Lagoon Restoration Project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report. Public review for the Topanga Lagoon Restoration Project DEIR officially began on February 12, and will close on April 12, at 5 pm.

The proposed project involves the expansion of the Topanga Creek and lagoon ecosystem, replacement of the existing Pacific Coast Highway bridge over Topanga Creek with a longer bridge to accommodate the lagoon expansion, development of visitor services in lower Topanga State Park, and the relocation of County of Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors facilities on Topanga Beach that are threatened by sea level rise. The proposal also includes construction of new visitor services at the north west corner of the intersection of PCH and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, and evaluates the potential reuse options for excavated sediment and options for on-site vs off-site wastewater disposal.

The public review period is the time to raise questions, provide information that may have been missed during the scoping process, and weigh in on the four alternatives, which range from “No Project/No Build–Managed Decline,”through “Maximum Lagoon Habitat,” and “Limited Lagoon Habitat Expansion,” to “Maximum Managed Retreat.”

It’s a complex proposal that involves many options—keep the Malibu Rancho Motel and restore it, or completely remove it? Realign PCH, or replace the bridge and work within the existing footprint? Reuse the sediment dredged from the lagoon in an effort to restore some of the lost sand to the beach, or dispose of it off site? 

At the heart of the project lie three critical issues: replacing the Topanga Creek Bridge that was built in 1933; using that opportunity to restore a portion of the historic lagoon that existed before the bridge was built to improve habitat and connectivity for the endangered Southern Steelhead trout and other species; and addressing and attempting to mitigate the impacts of sea level rise and coastal erosion on this storied and much-loved stretch of coastline.

The entire document and instructions on how to submit comments can be found at www.topangalagoonrestoration.org/whats-new. Print editions are also available at the Topanga and Malibu libraries.

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