Army Corps of Engineers on deck with Long Beach Breakwater recommendations

City was presented with several options on possible infrastructure reconfiguration.

LONG BEACH — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented the Long Beach community with six possibilities of how the region’s offshore breakwater space could look like, according to an updated shared by City Council member Suzie Price’s office.

Two of the options presented called for a breakwater reconfiguration. There has been a push, recently spearheaded by the Surfrider Foundation, to remove the Long Beach Breakwater. Long Beach was once a surfing destination, but surfers disappeared when the construction of the offshore breakwater system permanently kept waves away from the local shore.

“I am encouraged to see a range of alternatives that will achieve ecosystem restoration including two that include breakwater reconfiguration. Science will drive the outcome of the study, but we are committed to the protection of property and infrastructure,” Price said in a published statement.

The Army Corps, in conjunction with the city of Long Beach, federal agencies and other governmental entities developed a study to analyze possible alternatives for the offshore breakwater.

“Draft alternatives include options to add physical structures, such as rocky reefs, wetlands and kelp beds to the bay, as well as to modify the Long Beach Breakwater,” Price said. “Two of the alternatives that we presented include removing one-third of the breakwater and another that creates two 1000-foot notches in the structure.”

None of the plans, apparently, are calling for the entire removal of the breakwater.

The breakwater study was initiated in February 2016 and is now enduring through an environmental review process.

Surfrider Foundation actively campaigned for a complete removal of the Long Beach Breakwater, which occupies 2.2 linear miles just off the Long Beach coast. The Long Beach Breakwater is one of three such offshore structures stretching from the western edge of San Pedro to just east of Downtown Long Beach.

The surfing organization advocated for a complete removal of Long Beach Breakwater so the local coastline would receive increased wave action.

Long Beach Breakwater, the easternmost of the trio of breakwaters, was built last (in 1949). San Pedro Breakwater, in 1912, was the first one built. The second breakwater, placed just off of Terminal Island, was built in 1942.

Public comment will be accepted throughout the current stage of review. Price stated an update on the breakwater study would be presented in early 2019.

Long Beach began looking at the possible reconfiguration of the local breakwater in 2005. City Council members, in 2007, allocated $100,000 to gauge whether the Army Corps of Engineers and congressional leaders were up to updating the stretch of Long Beach coast known as the East San Pedro Bay.

It took three years but the Army Corps finally acknowledged they would indeed work with Long Beach officials to determine what sort of changes, if any, could be made to the breakwater area.

Funding for the study came in 2013, when the Long Beach City Council authorized $1.5 million dollars to be budgeted for the planned analysis. The Army Corps of Engineers received half of the money.

Photo: City of Long Beach

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