Read L.A. Weekly's “The Battle for Malibu Lagoon.”

Beware state politicians and UCLA professor Mark Gold, surfers and environmentalists are planning to crash your ribbon cutting ceremony at the controversial Malibu Lagoon restoration project on Friday.

“We are not happy with what happened,” Ballona Wetlands Institute co-director Marcia Hanscom tells L.A. Weekly. “So we want [opinion leaders and decision-makers] to know we do not want this to ever happen again. Either at Malibu Lagoon, at the Ballona Wetlands, or anywhere for that matter.”

The battle over the Malibu Lagoon pitted environmentalists against environmentalists, which includes Mark Gold, former president of Heal the Bay who supported the restoration project.

As L.A. Weekly's Hillel Aron wrote in 2011, some environmentalists said the sluggish lagoon was desperately sick and needed a drastic overhaul.

But opposing enviros and surfers argued “that the restoration plan was almost sure to kill more habitat and wildlife than claimed, while failing to fix the lagoon's fundamental circulation problem.”

In the end, the state's plan to bulldoze and reshape the lagoon won out. The project took eight months and $7 million to complete. But there's still bad blood in Malibu, with opponents claiming the lagoon has been “restored” beyond recognition.

At Friday's ribbon cutting ceremony, where Gold will be a featured speaker, surfers and environmentalists will undoubtedly give VIPs an earful. Perhaps tellingly, Malibu city officials, who opposed the project, have not been invited to speak at the event.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly