The Fight for Malibu Beach

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Surfrider Beach in better days. Photo: Bill Parr

Malibu’s Surfrider Beach should be a busy place tomorrow. A long-delayed restoration of the polluted Malibu Lagoon—the estuary that feeds the famed surf break—is finally scheduled to begin after a year of conflicts and court battles that have pitted scientists who favor the cleanup against residents and celebrities who don’t. The restoration, backed by the California Coastal Commission and the state parks department, is intended to clear water that’s long been stagnant and polluted due in part to filled-in land that has prevented the estuary from cleaning itself naturally. But many local surfers and residents think the lagoon is just fine, and that the cleanup will wreck the famed wave at Surfrider Beach.

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