MALIBU—On Saturday, February 5, protesters met at Coogie’s Restaurant in Malibu for an informational event targeted at preventing the planned Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project. The event was sponsored by the Wetlands Defense Fund (WDF).  Opponents say the restoration would be damaging to the environment, while proponents accuse those against the project of misinformation and propaganda.

The difference of opinion is a difference of approach but not a disagreement over the problem.  All agree that the wetlands are polluted and are in need of repair.  Some favor nurture while others favor nature.  That is to say that opponents want nature to run its course, and believe that the lagoon possesses natural reparation mechanisms, while proponents of the restoration project believe that human intervention is necessary to correct human damage done to the lagoon.

Marcia Hanscom, the President of WDF, filed a lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission for supporting the restoration project. However, time is running short during which the lawsuit can have a real impact on the progress of the restoration project.

“We had hoped to have some kind of briefing schedule by now,” Hanscom said. “We’re really worried about that because a hearing before a judge won’t happen until after the bulldozers start rolling.”

Hanscom hopes that Governor Brown, as in his previous term as California governor, can help stop that restoration project from gaining speed.

As Hanscom noted, “It’s a coincidence that now he could save it again.”

The filing by WDF specifically challenges the project on ecological grounds, specifically what the WDF calls the “project to dam, drain, and dredge this wetlands area that contains sensitive and endangered wildlife….”

As explained in the filing, “The project, alleged to be a ‘restoration’ project, would…refill portions of the dredged area. After grading, excavating, or filling 88,700 cubic yards of soil, the result would be a re-engineered and human-constructed environment….”

WDF petitioners were also concerned about the ban on human access to an area in use for 27 years.