With the East San Pedro Bay glimmering in the background, Mayor Robert Garcia and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today signed the Federal Cost Share Agreement to begin the Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study.
“Improving our ecosystem and coastal experience is a win for residents and visitors, and will be a boost to the Long Beach economy," said Mayor Robert Garcia. "This is an opportunity to transform our beaches and our city, and I want to thank the Army Corps for their support of moving forward."
The East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study will focus primarily on restoring the aquatic ecosystem. Officials will conduct engineering analysis that will include coastal engineering, as well as geotechnical engineering design of any alternative affecting the Long Beach Breakwater, including wave modeling to assess surface wave effects on infrastructure, navigation and recreation, and circulation modeling that will show movement of water within the East San Pedro Bay. These expert evaluations will shed light on opportunities for kelp, eelgrass, and wetlands restoration within the East San Pedro Bay.
“We have a unique opportunity, and a challenging task,” said Maj. Gen. Ed Jackson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, “to investigate together how we can best restore a Southern California coastal marine environment located in a heavily urbanized location, near one of the world’s largest port complexes, at the mouth of one of the nation’s most altered rivers, the Los Angeles River.”
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.
“I am thrilled that some of the brightest minds in aquatic ecosystem restoration will be focused on Long Beach,” said Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal. “The prospect of continuing to improve our most precious natural habitats, and by extension, the essential Long Beach experience, is very exciting.”
Today’s signing enables the Army Corps to accept local funding to begin the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study. The study costs $3 million, and will be shared between the City and the Army Corps. Ecosystem Restoration is one of the primary missions of the Army Corps.
“This phase of the process begins the long awaited study that will ultimately answer many questions regarding the feasibility of modifying the breakwater as it is currently configured,” said Councilwoman Suzie Price. “For the residents of my district, ensuring a process that allows for public input and the consideration of the various factors impacting this area will be critical. I am committed to being fully engaged with our community as we move through this process.”
Since 2007, the City’s effort to study the East San Pedro Bay ecosystem has involved significant public outreach and involvement, and that will continue.
Initial community meetings will begin in the next few months. The first order of business will be to develop potential study alternatives with which to evaluate using the Corps’ Cost Effectiveness and Incremental Cost Share Analyses model. The study is expected to take three years to complete. 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.