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Save Los Cerritos Wetlands!

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Los Cerritos Wetlands, the 44 acres of original salt marsh left (aka "Steam Shovel Slough")

SEASP Meeting August 18, 2016 - The Planning Commission held a study session to learn more about the DEIR and the associated plan.  A recording of this meeting is at http://longbeach.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=12&clip_id=8651 and news coverage by LBReport is at http://www.lbreport.com/news/aug16/seasp2.htm
 
** IMPORTANT** New ongoing SEASP Petition Asking to Make Smaller or No Project, Please Sign & Share!
https://works.audubon.org/petition/stop-new-coastal-development-impacting-wetlands  Note: you do not have to be a Long Beach resident or a registered voter to sign.  This petition is for the next City Planning Mtg (date TBD), please sign even if you already signed other petitions previously.  SEASP target approval dates are:  Nov 2016 LB Planning, Dec 2016 LB City Council and to CA Coastal Commission in 2017.
 
For SEASP plan details  see:  http://www.lbds.info/seadip_update/ and also on this page, Current Issues #1 below and more info toward the bottom of this page.
 
Improvements to the SEASP plan (in my opinion) might include lowering the building height and density along the "mixed use" area along PCH between the wetlands and Alamitos Bay because 5400 new residential units and about 8600 more people on a 86 acre block is the root of most problems with this plan, adding too much building height/density in turn creating a very bad traffic problem impacting Seal Beach, all the way to 7th St, 2nd St/Naples & Belmont Shore, up Studebaker Rd and the 405/22/605 freeways, in turn exceeding air quality standards, harming both the sensitive wetlands AND PEOPLE!  Bird safe glass all the way to the bottom floors of buildings, plenty of space between buildings for bird flight, a lights out program at night to avoid night light impacts to the wetlands all would be good inclusions to the plans.  No loss of wetlands, no road extensions thru wetlands.  Include native trees!  Drive down 183rd to Shoemaker Rd by Cerritos Towne Center to see a very nice "urban tree" design actually hiding buildings (the thumbnail pic to the left is from Google street view)--how nice would that design be as a gateway to our city? seasp/183rd-btn-blmfield-and-shoemaker-2.jpg
Also see a paper on the benefits of urban street trees at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/22_benefits_208084_7.pdf -- another concerned citizen sent this to the city as their public comment.   Personally I do want improvement to the area, but environmentally friendly improvement, as I'm sure do many others :) 
 

Short film below "The Lost Jewel of the Coast, Los Cerritos Wetlands",
dated back in the 90's, much of it was filmed in our pristine marsh pictured at the left. 

 

 

**Updated** Synergy Wetlands Restoration & Oil Consolidation July 6th, 2016 SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING

Nice turnout for the meeting, thanks to the LCWA and all those who attended!  This meeting related to #3 under "Current Issues" on this page, see below. 

It was announced at the end of this meeting, at the next LCWA meeting on August 4th 2016 Synergy's Hydrology Study for the wetlands restoration will be presented.  The official LCWA August 4th meeting information is found at  http://intoloscerritoswetlands.org/lcwa-board-meetings/

 Agenda, meeting details and copy of the slide show Erick Zahn presented can be found at

http://intoloscerritoswetlands.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Final_July2016_Agenda.pdf

 

**Updated** August 4th, 2016, Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority Meeting  

 Recording of the August 4th Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority Meeting (the hydrology study was presented, including sea level rise predictions, the commonly termed "land swap" actually a non binding option agreement was also approved):  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1TaBE7tDozRTnFQZllrX3FLbWs/view?pref=2&pli=1 

LBReport in depth news coverage of the Aug 4th meeting including the actual text of the option agreement approved is at:  http://www.lbreport.com/news/aug16/lcwa1.htm 

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SEASP Map--click pic to enlarge

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"Mixed Use Area" Bldg Clustering--Click pic to enlarge

SEASP bird safety concerns: 

The SEASP map to the left shows the area of concern.  The red is the 86 acre "mixed use" allowing 3 to 7 story high buildings including approximately 5400 new residential units & about 8600 more people.  The red "mixed use" area stretches from PCH at the San Gabriel River almost to Loynes Dr., this includes the Mimi's shopping center, Marketplace, 2nd & PCH Seaport Marina Hotel and Marina Pacifica.  This proposed density also is a concern for severe traffic jams, bad air quality and pollution harmful to not only birds & wetlands but people too.

The green on the map is Los Cerritos Wetlands, the pale blue in the lower left corner is Alamitos Bay.

Notice how the red "mixed use" area sits right between the wetlands and bay--this is a bird flight pattern, many species use both the wetlands and the bay, flying back and forth at times.  SEASP also allows building up to 100 feet from the wetlands or exceptions could be made for only 25 feet from the wetlands.  This presents a building glass strike hazard for birds, both during the day and from building lighting at night.  

Millions of birds die each year from striking glass.  Bird safe glass only lessens strike kills and therefore should not be used as "a reason to be ok" to build taller but the best bird safe glass should be used on all buildings (no matter the height) all the way to the ground floor (especially since this proposed denser development is next to the wetlands)--this is a good one to include in SEASP comment letters.  Not all bird safe building glass types or "bird safe treatments" are highly rated or effective, what type is used matters.  Audubon has a lot of good info on this topic, click the article title links below.

CURRENT ISSUES AT LOS CERRITOS WETLANDS: 
  1. Southeast Area Specific Plan (SEASP)

    The re-zoning and development plan for Southeast Long Beach, including Los Cerritos Wetlands and new development around the edges of the wetlands.  The draft environmental impact report (DEIR) was just released on July 20th, 2016 and public comments on the plan will be accepted by City of Long Beach Planning until Sept 19th, 2016, see http://www.lbds.info/seadip_update/ for more information.  Download the SEASP DEIR (in sections) at http://www.lbds.info/planning/environmental_planning/environmental_reports.asp  This is an opportunity for public to participate in the future of the wetlands. This plan outlines development which could impact our wetlands and rezoning in and around our wetlands; concerns also include a portion of our freshwater marsh could be paved over by the proposed Shopkeeper Road extension, pollution impacts to the adjacent wetlands and bird kills on the proposed tall buildings, plus many other concerns the public has expressed throughout the early stages of the EIR process. The report the DEIR was based upon is at: http://www.lbds.info/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=5738

  2. LCWA Conceptual Restoration Plan

    The final is available online at http://intoloscerritoswetlands.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/FinalLCWCRP-PUBLICRELEASE8-11-2015.compressed.pdf  -- which will eventually become the Draft EIR which will be open for public comment, recommended to read the report & we'll post reminders when public comment periods begin. This conceptual plan includes restoration of the entire LCW complex, including the still privately owned Synergy Property, subject to another project, the oil operations move & restoration, which the owner proposes a separate mitigation bank based restoration plan (see #3).

     

  3. Synergy Oil's Los Cerritos Wetlands Restoration and Oil Consolidation Proposed Project

    The Notice of Preparation & initial study was released and the draft study report is online at http://www.lbds.info/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=5810 -- the public comment period on this NOP phase passed on 5/27/16 but additional public comment periods will open once the next Environment Impact Report step begins.  We'll post reminders every step of the process. Recommend reading the initial study to get an idea of the restoration proposed.  However, the document is not necessarily the exact plan, the project proponents are currently still working on the detailed restoration plans which must go through a very stringent review process with various agencies (such as Coastal Commission, USFWS, etc.) and the CEQA EIR process which includes  public input.   Concerns include impacts to the historic marsh known as "Steam Shovel Slough" as the project removes some berm sections to let more sea water into the restoration areas.  Efforts to get water from another source (for example a new tidal inlet) unfortunately haven't been successful.  John McKeown, Synergy CEO has repeatedly said "we only have one shot at this (restoration)", he has a point as it's not often you have an oil company working to restore a wetlands whether it benefits them or not.   Hydrology changes, too much sedimentation into the functioning historic salt marsh during restoration, high pickleweed habitat for the endangered Belding's Savannah Sparrow is among the concerns of course, restoration can be tricky business.  It will be interesting to see how this develops.  The project proponents hope to have a new restoration website online soon.  Regarding sedimentation and hydrology it is good to know the basic zones of a wetlands and the plants that grow at certain water depths and the birds, aquatic creatures and wildlife that use these zones (see Amigos de Bolsa Chica webpage at http://www.amigosdebolsachica.org/birdsandscience.php#functions/).  Stay tuned for more information, we'll post as things develop.


  4. Issues at California Coastal Commission


    Much info in the media lately about this, concerns the current commissioners are developer friendly and don't put the coast preservation (including wetlands) as a top priority as they have done in the past, to name a few. Ultimately, any major changes to zoning in the coastal zone (such as in or around our wetlands) including restoration or development, are governed by the commission. And of course a good panel of commissioners basing decisions on the laws and science is critical. Here is a good article on the topic:  https://www.kcet.org/redefine/coastal-commission-coup-could-endanger-your-public-beaches

     

  5. Impact to Alamitos Bay (& Los Cerritos Wetlands) by AES Power Plant rebuild project turning off the plant's pumps

    Currently water is drawn from the back of Alamitos Bay for once though cooling, which is to be eliminated by the rebuild. Our most pristine part of Los Cerritos Wetlands (aka "Steam Shovel Slough") tidal inlet is at the back of Alamitos Bay off the same channel the plant pumps draw water from. Public concerns over the effects of turning off the pumps still exist today: will the bay and wetlands benefit as sea life will no longer be killed by the pumps or will the water become stagnant due to lack of circulation the pumps provided in this very human altered bay? What impact will lack of circulation have on our pristine salt marsh area? Currently the City of Long Beach is searching for a win-win solution here and many members of the public are either for or against shutting off the pumps. This older article discusses and includes links to the AES power plant project website: http://www.gazettes.com/news/aes-starts-process-to-replace-alamitos-power-plant/article_da8a0768-8de5-11e3-8b55-0019bb2963f4.html   Also see this project public document, very interesting read:  http://docketpublic.energy.ca.gov/PublicDocuments/13-AFC-01/TN213768_20160923T121327_Final_Staff_Assessment.pdf -- see the following sections  of this file for some interesting info:  Biological Resources, section 4 (page 4.2) and Los Cerritos Wetlands on page 4.2-5, Construction and Demolition Impacts (to plants and wildlife) begins on page 4.2-25.  Also see Section 4.3 Cultural Resources, describes the Puvunga Ceremonial Site Complex, recommended as eligible for the California Register of Historical Resources.  Cultural Resources of the entire area including Los Cerritos Wetlands begins on page 4.3-13.  Interesting area history is included in CULTURAL RESOURCES APPENDIX CR-1, beginning on page 4.3-100. Long Beach history, including the build out of S/E Long Beach (where Los Cerritos Wetlands is located) begins on page 4.3-122.  Flood history, page 4.3-129 and the San Gabriel River and channelizing begins on page 4.3-130  

Please watch for our future posts on these issues and participate in the public comment periods, public participation is critical -- and these are YOUR public lands, you have every right to voice your opinion and concerns to the governing agencies :)

Many of the past page posts on Save Los Cerritos Wetlands Facebook page at www.facebook.com/saveloscerritoswetlands give further details about the items outlined above. For some history please scroll back through our page posts. And we'll post updates as information is available, along with fun facts, public tours and many pictures of our wetlands. Thanks!

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Although El Dorado Audubon conducts monthly citizen science based bird surveys at Los Cerritos Wetlands, they also hire professional biologists or other experts such as ornathologists to conduct bird & bird habitat surveys.  These important more specialized studies are submitted in the public process on the restoration and other projects.  You can donate to help support this ongoing effort by visiting www.eldoradoaudubon.org and look for the "Donate" button--make sure to write "For Los Cerritos Wetlands Fund" in the donation comments.  Or you could send a check to El Dorado Audubon, PO Box 90713, Long Beach CA 90809-0713 --make sure to write "Los Cerritos Wetlands Fund" on the check.  The birds & wildlife will appreciate it :) 

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Muted wetlands on Synergy Oil Op property, looking toward Steam Shovel Slough & Loynes Dr

Fun Fact: 

Los Cerritos Wetlands is a National Audubon Society Important bird area, included in the area defined as "Orange Coast Wetlands" which stretches from Los Cerritos Wetlands to Santa Ana River (Banning Ranch) and Newport Bay. We are all connected.  See more about the "Orange Coast Wetlands" IBA at  http://netapp.audubon.org/IBA/Site/205

Appears we have links to 2 documents to review on the SEASP Update main page, a Hearing Draft and the actual DEIR.  This page also gives info on deadlines and where to send your public comments and can be found at www.lbds.info/seadip_update

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SEASP July 2016, document navigation tips:  It’s tall, it’s big, it’s dense…and so is the DEIR the public must review and submit comments in less than 60 days now… Below corresponds to CH (chapter) links shown in the screenshot above from the SEASP DEIR document download web page.  You may find this helpful in explaining what that long list of downloads actually is:

This DEIR has been formatted as described below (from “CH_01” download/Section 1).  These chapters (sections) can be downloaded at http://www.lbds.info/planning/environmental_planning/environmental_reports.asp.

Section 1. Executive Summary
Section 2. Introduction
Section 3. Project Description
Section 4. Environmental Setting  
Section 5. Environmental Analysis
Section 6. Significant Unavoidable Adverse Impacts
Section 7. Alternatives to the Proposed Project
Section 8. Impacts Found Not to Be Significant:
Section 9. Significant Irreversible Changes Due to the Proposed Project:
Section 10. Growth-Inducing Impacts of the Project
Section 11. Organizations and Persons Consulted
Section 12. Qualifications of Persons Preparing EIR
Section 13. Bibliography  

Appendices: The appendices for this document contain the following supporting documents:

  • Appendix A: Initial Study/Notice of Preparation

  • Appendix B: NOP Comments

  • Appendix C: Air Quality & GHG Modeling

  • Appendix D: Biological Resources Assessment and Wetland Delineation

  • Appendix E: Cultural Resources Overview and Native American Correspondence

  • Appendix F: Geotechnical Conditions Memo

  • Appendix G: Phase 0 Site Assessment

  • Appendix H: Infrastructure Technical Report

  • Appendix I: Noise Modeling

  • Appendix J: Transportation Impact Analysis and VMT Memo

  • Appendix K: Public Services Correspondence

  • Appendix L: Water Supply Assessment

  • Appendix M: Draft Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program

SEAP DEIR navigation...

Looking through the download choices Chapter 5 of SEASP DEIR is a book in itself.  I want to know about roads, traffic impacts and impacts of any road improvements to the wetlands.  So I choose to download CH_05-16_T which is about traffic.  I do a search on the word "wetlands" for example.  I find quite a few references to impacts of road improvements to the wetlands and included a few screenshots below.  Not many details in this section about the exact construction which could or will create an impact and I have no idea where to find those details (yet), maybe that Aug 18th SEASP meeting mentioned on the top of this page will help figure this out.  One of many points of interest or concerns .... The direct link to "Traffic" is http://www.lbds.info/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=5968 

Studebaker Rd & 2nd St
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Seal Beach Blvd & 2nd St/Westminster
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PCH & Loynes Dr.
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Shopkeeper Rd & 2nd St
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SEASP DEIR Ch 5 "Table of Contents"
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** CEQA explained and how to participate and write good Environmental Impact Report comments **

In case you missed our Facebook posts on the topic, see links and embedded posts below.  Although several environmental organizations are participating in this process, the more public comment letters from individuals the better.  You can pick any part(s) of the EIR or draft EIR that concern you, find it in the published report on the City of Long Beach web site (linked in this page above), read what it has to say and then write a comment letter.  The information in the two links below are helpful in formulating a good letter.

The direct link to CEQA/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process explained ishttp://www.sdcwa.org/EIR-101#t46n707 

A good link, tips on how to write your own public comment letter on an Draft EIR or EIR:  https://www.pcl.org/campaigns/ceqa/ceqa-workshops-info/ceqa-public-participation/

  

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Good inspirational news article below (click the coast picture)

Never give up!