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Surfrider Seeks To Build On Breakwater Study Momentum

Published 8/2/2007 on Grunion Gazette

People who may not have understood the City Council’s decision last week to fund an initial study regarding reconfiguring the breakwater will have the chance to learn more about the subject at Monday’s meeting of the Surfrider Foundation.

Surfrider’s Long Beach chapter will host a free, public meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Borders bookstore at 101 S. Pine Ave. to discuss its campaign to reconfigure the city’s breakwater and give people a chance to ask questions.

“It’s to get the public to know more about it so they can educate their government,” said Seamus Ian Innes, Surfrider secretary and meeting coordinator.

The local environmentalist group has been pushing for changes to the breakwater for more than a decade, hoping to restore natural surf to the beaches and help improve water quality. Last week, the council voted 7-1 to pay up to $100,000 for a reconnaissance study that would determine if there is federal interest (the federal government, not the city, owns the breakwater) in the project.

It will look at the breakwater’s impact on the economy, the environment, national security, water quality and beach erosion, among other things, and ultimately come up with an estimated cost for its reconfiguration (or removal). This study would pave the way for a feasibility study, which would take three or four years and deal with costs and solutions for the project.

Despite the vote, Innes said Surfrider still has some convincing to do of various city leaders. Third District Councilman Gary DeLong, for example, questioned whether a study is the best use of $100,000 to improve water quality.

“We still have to keep working on our local City Council,” Innes said. “We have to pursue all possible remedies (to the breakwater issue).”

He added that Surfrider will now try to support the city through the entire breakwater project, mainly by seeking funding for the numerous studies that have to be conducted. The group also hopes to meet with California’s U.S. Senators to present their cause once again, Innes said.

But part of championing the breakwater cause includes turning to their fellow environmentalists as well.

“We also have to work on the environmental community,” Innes said. “It’s not just about opposing some project, it’s a change of existing. We have to let them know not to oppose this project.”

In addition to the breakwater, people who attend Monday’s Surfrider meeting also will hear an introduction to the group and learn about its programs and efforts. Innes said the group hopes to recruit some more volunteers as well.

The local Surfrider chapter meets at the same Borders every other month. Innes said the group hopes to get a representative from the city’s government affairs office to speak at its October meeting.

For more information, call Innes at 434-4515 or visit www.lbsurfrider.org/wordpress.

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