City of Long Beach
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd,
Long Beach, CA 90802
Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) released its draft Integrated Feasibility Report (IFR), including the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the Environmental Impact Report, for the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study.
The report identifies a Tentatively Selected Plan, which would be the Corps’ first open-ocean ecosystem restoration project in the nation. The plan would provide near-shore and off-shore rocky reefs, kelp reefs and eelgrass beds, and is referred to as the Reef Restoration Plan.
Bound copies of the report will be available at Long Beach libraries; the report is also available online at https://www.spl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Projects-Studies/East-San-Pedro-Bay-Ecosystem-Restoration-Study/. The public comment period takes place from Nov. 29, 2019, to Jan. 27, 2020.
“This is the culmination of a 14-year project to use science and data to present potential solutions to ecosystem restoration and water quality,” said Tom Modica, Acting City Manager. “We thank the Army Corps for working with the City to study this critically important question, and encourage the community to review the scientific study and participate in the public comment period.”
The public is invited to attend one of two public meetings for a presentation of the report on Dec. 9, 2019, at the Aquarium of the Pacific (100 Aquarium Way): one meeting takes place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the second from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. After opening remarks from City officials, a presentation led by Col. Aaron Barta of the Army Corps will take place.
“The Corps’ Los Angeles District is excited about the release of the tentatively selected plan,” said Col. Aaron Barta, commander of the Corps’ Los Angeles District. “We look forward to public input on our plan to help restore the unique underwater ecosystem environment of East San Pedro Bay.”
The effort launched in 2005 when the Long Beach City Council brought forth a motion to conduct a one-year reconnaissance study to determine if there was federal interest in a study to reconfigure the Long Beach breakwater. The reconnaissance study was conducted, once funding was secured, in 2008-2009 by Moffatt & Nichol. The reconnaissance study identified various alternatives to improve the breakwater ecosystem, including identifying the possibility to create up to 500 acres of kelp bed, up to 300 acres of rocky reef habitat, and increase recreational value.
Upon the Army Corps’ review of the reconnaissance study, in 2010 the City received approval to move forward with next steps as the federal government had determined that there was sufficient interest. The Army Corps recommended a feasibility study to determine viable options for ecosystem restoration. At this point, the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study came into being with the goals of ecosystem restoration, water quality improvement, and increased recreational opportunities while protecting existing infrastructure, navigation channels and maritime capacity.
Restoring and improving aquatic ecosystem structure and function for increased habitat biodiversity and ecosystem value of the southern California bight within the proposed project area of the East San Pedro Bay is the Army Corps goal of the Study. The Study identifies three best buy plans through Army Corps modeling efforts. Throughout the study, the City has requested that project alternatives including breakwater modification be modeled and holistically evaluated as part of the study.
Breakwater alterations were identified as possible measures early in the scoping process and remained at the forefront of the Study throughout the modeling and evaluation process and ultimately included within the IFR. To determine the feasibility of various measures and alternatives, the team conducted wave modeling, hydrodynamic modeling, habitat evaluation modeling, developed conceptual estimates and completed a cost-effective analysis.
In June 2018, the Army Corps identified three draft alternative plans for ecosystem restoration. In addition to the no action plan and the three drafts published by the Army Corps, two plans were developed that include modifications to the breakwater. The draft IFR evaluates the feasibility of the following six draft alternative plans and the Army Corps has selected Alternative 3 as the Tentatively Selected Plan.
Alternative 1: No Action Alternative
Alternative 2: Kelp Restoration Plan
Alternative 3: Reef Restoration Plan
Alternative 4: Scarce Habitat Restoration Plan
Alternative BW1: Breakwater Western Notching Plan
Alternative BW2: Breakwater 1/3 Eastern Removal Plan
The draft IFR will come before City Council in 2020, after the public comment period has concluded. For more information on the study, the community can visit www.longbeach.gov/citymanager/tidelands/bay-ecosystem-study/.
About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly-rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly-respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 171 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.
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