Angie Crouch, Troy McLaurin
Dewatering in the Malibu Lagoon could begin early next week. The project will to dredge and reshape the 12-acre wetland west of the Malibu Creek mouth. Authorities say the changes will remove pollution from the Lagoon, but critics question if the project is really necessary. Angie Crouch reports from Malibu for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 12, 2012.
It's nesting season for ducks, who somehow continue to make the Malibu Lagoon their home despite the large tractors nearby, digging in the dirt.
An $8 Million project is underway to restore the lagoon to the pristine wetland area it was many years ago, before storm water run-off polluted it.
"We're just trying to undo what was done to the lagoon decades ago," according to Suzanne Goode, the State Parks lead scientist on the project.
Next week they'll begin pumping out water, Goode says, treating it at a portable plant, and then dumping the treated water into the ocean at the world famous Surfrider Beach.
Crews will eventually build new channels in the lagoon, aimed at improving water circulation to create a healthier habitat.
But many Malibu residents oppose the plan.
They don't believe the lagoon was polluted, and point to videos taken of the lagoon before it was torn up, prove that the project is unnecessary.
"You could see through to the bottom," says project opponent, Cathey Cadieux. "There were hundreds of birds here. It was green, it was lush. You had mature native plants, and there was no reason to do anything."
They also believe it's an inappropriate use of safe drinking water bond money from Proposition 50.
Officials say there's a lot of misinformation about the project.
"Give us one and a half, or two years," says Goode, "and when a person comes back they won't even realize a project took place. Wetlands are very forgiving and heal very quickly."
The project will be complete by the end of the year.