Malibu – Is it Time to Give a Dam?

I am grateful the City of Malibu will be considering issues surrounding the removal of the Rindge Dam on Monday, February 26, 2018. The million dollar plus plus public project appears to be on the track to approval by the California Coastal Commission.

“Although this project would restore approximately 8.5 miles of aquatic habitat connectivity between the Pacific Ocean and Rindge Dam in Malibu Creek, there are potentially serious environmental issues that have yet to be resolved.” See Malibu City Staff Report at:

I agree with the Malibu City Staff report. I am concerned that the removal of the Rindge Dam will be a man-made disaster. I hope everyone will consider this issue now and join me in taking a stand to protect Malibu.

I am not a scientist, but common sense tells me that if you remove the 100 or so foot dam, more than a foot of water will be allowed to submerge parts of Malibu- including Cross Creek area and Serra Retreat. Yes, the steel head trout may be able to swim a few more miles up stream, and I am all for swimming up stream, but we must consider safer alternatives to protect the people who live and visit Malibu.

I have witnessed the flooding in and around Malibu at the foot of the creek in the past, and I can’t even imagine the damage that will follow when the dam in removed. In addition, the trucks going up and down our one of our only ways in and out of Malibu are certain to cause problems for residents and visitors alike. Remember it will take YEARS, if not a decade, to haul out the tons of debris. Try to imagine the hundreds of thousands of trucks and trips added to our only arteries in and out of Malibu. Is this cost worth the benefit of a few extra miles to swim?

Here are some humble thoughts:

1) There are more pressing issues that should be addressed and better ways to use tax payor money – like fixing the dam up north. Why not use our resources to address those more pressing issues?

2) Why aren’t alternatives being considered? Why can’t the government consider fish ladders or other cheaper and effective ways to allow the trout to keep going up stream a few more miles?

3) I can almost guarantee an earthquake will happen, and with that mother nature may surely find it in her power to remove the dam at no cost to the tax payor. What’s the rush? Who is pushing for this issue, and how will they benefit from the project?

If you want to read the California Coastal Commission (“CCC”) Report for the February 7, 2018 agenda, it can be found here: Please note: the California Coastal Commission hearing on February 7, 2018 was postponed. Based on the information in the report, it appears the CCC staff are backing the project.

“The project’s two primary objectives, restoration of steelhead habitat in Malibu Creek and its tributaries and restoration of sediment supply to downcast beaches, are both consistent with the intent of these Coastal Act policies.” CCC Staff Report at p. 35.

“The project holds the potential to create two types of geologic hazards: slope instability during and after excavation of the impounded sediments behind Rindge Dam, and increased downstream flood risks after removal of the dam and impounded sediment.” CCC report at p. 38.

“The Commission agrees with the Corps’ conclusion that the proposed project would not lead to a significant increase in slope stability hazards adjacent to the impounded sediment reservoir with implementation of slope stabilization measures; or (2) increased flood hazards downstream along Malibu Creek over the flood hazard that currently exists with the dam in place” at p. 42.

Please consider this issue now, before you are scratching your head and asking how did this happen in the years ahead.

If you are inspired to take action please:

1) Email Malibu City Councilmembers asking that they send letter to CCC outlining concerns.

Mayor Mullen:
Mayor Pro Tem Wagner:
Councilmember La Monte:
Councilmember Peak:
Councilmember Rosenthal:

2) Attend the Meeting on Monday February 26, 2018 and speak on the item.