The old days in Long Beach, before the breakwater
The old days in Long Beach, before the breakwater

Long Beach Breakwater Reconfiguration Moves a Baby Step Forward

Reconfiguring the Long Beach Breakwater--championed by environmentalists, dissed by some beachfront residents--has moved another step closer to reality as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' district office in Los Angeles has recommended approval of a feasibility study.

As the Long Beach Surfrider chapter and the photo above informs, Long Beach was known before the breakwater's World War II-era construction as the "Waikiki of Southern California."

The deepwater port project that began just before WWII and was finally completed in 1946 protected the port and accompanying structures from strong ocean currents. The breakwater also stopped historical flooding along Ocean Avenue.

But Surfrider and various experts blame Long Beach's waterfront deterioration on the breakwater stemming the natural flow of the ocean current and waves that had previously assisted in keeping the beaches and waters in Long Beach free from stagnating pollutants.

Urban runoff or stormwater from the Los Angeles River gets trapped within the harbor because of the breakwater, they contend.

Critics counter the peninsula could erode, homes could again flood and various port structures would be battered if the breakwater is removed.

This has been debated for years, and, as the Long Beach Press Telegram reports, the latest Corps of Engineers move is another baby step toward some kind of solution. The agency's regional planners in San Francisco still must give the green light for the preliminary analysis--a decision that could come by mid-June.

If a study is approved, it's estimated to cost $8 million, which would be split between Long Beach and the feds.


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