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Long Beach breakwater study gets federal funding

October 29, 2009 |  5:13 pm

The effort to bring waves back to Long Beach by dismantling its massive breakwater will be getting some federal consideration after funding was approved this week.

An appropriations bill signed by President Obama on Wednesday gives the Army Corps of Engineers $90,000 to review the city's study of reconfiguring the rock wall to create bigger waves, cleaner water and beaches, and more tourism.

The 2.2-mile rock barricade, built during World War II to shelter Navy ships from waves, has been blamed by environmental groups and surfers for trapping in water pollution and deadening the surf.

In July, the city released the results of a $100,000 East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study, which found that altering the breakwater could bring $52 million a year in local spending and $7 million annually in taxes and fees. The study gave five options, but did not recommend completely removing the breakwater.

"We want to improve tourism, we want to improve water quality, we want to bring people back to the beaches," said Tom Modica, the city's manager of government affairs,

The Corps of Engineers now has the go-ahead to review the study over the coming months to decide whether it wants to take the next step: a four-year, $7-million study.

—Tony Barboza in Orange County