Removal of the artificial surfing reef that was constructed in El Segundo has begun.
The artificial surfing reef was built as mitigation for lost surfing resources when Chevron built a groin and added sand to the beach north of the El Segundo Refinery. Tom Pratte, a founding member of the Surfrider Foundation, convinced the Coastal Commission to include conditions in the permit for construction of the groin with associated beach fill to include monitoring and mitigation of the nearby surf if it was adversely impacted.
After 6 years of independent monitoring the California Coastal Commission determined that the surfing resources had been adversely impacted and they required Chevron to mitigate for the lost surfing. After years of negotiation between Chevron, the Coastal Commission and the Surfrider Foundation it was agreed that the mitigation would be through the construction of an artificial surfing reef.
The reef was constructed in 2000 and 2001. Surfing and nearshore coastal processes were monitored extensively for 2 years and then annually thereafter.
The experimental reef was permitted for a 10-year period ending in 2010. In addition to not improving the surf quality of the break, some of the geotextile bags that make up the artificial reef are beginning to deteriorate.
The Surfrider Foundation believes that the removal of this artificial reef is necessary to be consistent with our mission to protect the world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Because some of the bags are damaged and others are beginning to decompose we want to remove them before the synthetic materials that make up the reef bags are discharged into the marine environment.
While the artificial surf reef did nothing to improve the surf in El Segundo, the project highlighted the need for protection of existing surf breaks, and helped the California Coastal Commission recognize surfing breaks as natural recreational resources that are worthy of protection.
Here are some additional details about the artificial reef removal:
The removal process will begin on Tuesday, September 30 and finish Friday, October 17th.
The removal project is being directed by Coastal Frontiers Corporation, a Los Angeles-based coastal engineering firm with extensive experience in the installation and removal of geotextile containers from the marine environment
A professional dive crew from American Marine Corporation will conduct the underwater portion of the artificial reef removal process
Personnel from Morrissey Construction Company will bring the bags ashore and assure of their proper disposal
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