Mayor Robert Garcia announced back in November of last year that, following his meeting the Army Corps of Engineers in San Francisco, a major federal study of the Long Beach Breakwater will be conducted. According to the Mayor, this ecosystem restoration study will launch in early 2016 and with it, has the potential to transform our coastline while ensuring protection of coastal homes and the port—and now that study is officially a reality.

The East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study was formally signed by Garcia and Major General Donald Jackson of the Army Corps of Engineers today on Alamitos Beach.

The study will focus primarily on restoring the aquatic ecosystem, with officials conducting an “engineering analysis that will include coastal engineering, as well as geotechnical engineering design of any alternative affecting the Long Beach Breakwater, including wave modeling to assess surface wave effects on infrastructure, navigation and recreation, and circulation modeling that will show movement of water within the East San Pedro Bay,” according to City officials. These expert evaluations will “shed light on opportunities for kelp, eelgrass, and wetlands restoration within the East San Pedro Bay. The City of Long Beach and Army Corps have committed to mitigating any impacts to the capacity for maritime operations within the project area, and will not tolerate negative impacts to coastal homes and infrastructure.”

The Long Beach breakwater—one of the largest in the world—is one of three in the area that prevents waves from rolling into the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

“The breakwater, built decades ago in part to protect the Navy fleet stationed in Long Beach, has dramatically changed our ecosystem, including water circulation and tidal flow,” Garcia said in November. “The Army Corps will determine if ecosystem restoration is possible without damaging existing properties—including the port and most importantly coastal residences.”