SAN FRANCISCO – Mayor Robert Garcia and Brig. Gen. Mark Toy met to discuss the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study at the Army Corps of Engineers’ South Pacific Division Headquarters in San Francisco earlier today. The financial cost share agreement for this study will be signed at a special ceremony in Long Beach in coming weeks.
“I can’t thank the Army Corps enough for working with us to start this important and groundbreaking study,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Improving the coastal experience and ecosystem in our city is a win for residents, visitors, and will be a boost to the Long Beach economy.”
The East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study will focus primarily on restoring the aquatic ecosystem. Officials will evaluate opportunities for kelp, eelgrass, and wetlands restoration within the East San Pedro Bay and make a strong push to increase water circulation, which could lead to increased wave activity. The City of Long Beach and Army Corps have committed to mitigating any impacts to the capacity for maritime operations within the project area, and will not tolerate negative impacts to coastal homes and infrastructure.
“We are all stewards of our environment, and I am very excited about the prospect of improving the ecosystem along our beautiful coastline,” said Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal.
Since 2010, the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study has struggled to obtain federal funding to begin, even after the Army Corps made a determination that there was a “federal interest” in moving forward with the study. The study costs $3 million, and will be shared between the City and the Army Corps.
“I commend the Mayor on his efforts in getting this process started,” said Councilwoman Suzie Price. “It is my priority to be fully engaged in the study to ensure transparency, objectivity, and plenty of opportunities for public input. I am committed to studying this issue with a focus on protecting public and private property situated along our coastline.”
The three-year study is expected to start in early 2016, and will involve stakeholder input, wave modeling and ecosystem restoration evaluations. To get involved, people can sign up for updates at www.longbeach.gov/linkLB; look for “Bay Ecosystem Study.”
The East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration is the first open ocean ecosystem restoration study to use the Army Corps new 3x3x3 feasibility study model, and could become a model for Army Corps ecosystem restoration studies nationwide. The feasibility study is being conducted in parallel with a proposed Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) for Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach (Weapons Station), which will allow the Department of Defense and local communities to cooperatively develop land use strategies to limit encroachment on the Weapons Station’s mission. The JLUS will also be used to ensure that there is no mission impact to the Weapons Station’s explosives anchorages in the East San Pedro Bay relative to potential aquatic ecosystem restoration alternatives. At the same time, the Army Corps and Port of Long Beach are conducting a feasibility study on navigation as part of a future planning effort that will keep the Port of Long Beach on the cutting edge of the trade and goods movement industry.
Stay tuned to Long Beach Local News for more updates on this story