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Update on the Topanga Lagoon Restoration Project

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CA State Parks and RCDSMM Are Working on a Topanga Lagoon Restoration Project

The Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains is teaming up with CA State Parks to restore the Topanga Lagoon, so that endangered Southern California steelhead trout have a better chance of safely passing through local creeks.

The project, funded by the CA State Coastal Conservancy, will enhance the ecological function, visitor use, and accessibility of the lagoon in several ways. 

Environmentally, the lagoon will improve fish passage for southern steelhead, protect and enhance tidewater goby and bird habitat, increase wetland and transitional habitat, and improve water quality while accommodating for the projected increase in wave action and tidal levels due to sea level rise. Anticipated visitor-serving elements to be investigated in the project design process will include lower cost accommodations, restoration of Ranch Motel structures, area for restaurants, a visitor center with public restrooms, interpretive information, nature trails, parking, a picnic area, surf viewing, and beach access. This planning and design will also include preserving both the cultural archaeological significance of the site and the surf break. 

What Are the Goals for the Restoration?

- Restore Topanga Lagoon without impacting surf break
- Engage community to establish goals for the lagoon and visitor-serving elements of the project
- Provide a natural gateway into Topanga State Park with minimal built structures
- Provide affordable overnight lodging and concessions
- Evaluate opportunities for adaptive reuse of Topanga Ranch Motel
- Locate interpretive and educational elements for visitors

Project Timeline

In 2020-2021, the project team will engage the community in a series of workshops, complete the Topanga Motel Condition Assessment and Conceptual Design for Rehabilitation, and initiate the Topanga Lagoon Restoration Planning Project. The team anticipates completing Phase 1 integrated planning, 30% conceptual design, and initiate CEQA/permitting for the selected design alternative by the start of 2022.

On Feb. 29, 2020, the project team held a public meeting regarding the design elements of the project. 

If you were unable to make it to that first meeting, you can still view the public meeting presentation and the minutes, as well as all of the public comments.

Download meeting presentation.

Download meeting minutes.

If you would like to share additional comments with the project team regarding this first iteration of the plan, comments will be accepted until April 15, 2020. 

With these suggestions in hand, the next step is for the project engineers to complete the hydrologic and hydraulic modeling to help guide alternative design development so that the team can integrate sea level rise and other physical constraints. The team anticipates having the next iteration of ideas to share by Fall 2020. 

Additional public workshops meant to inform the project design alternatives are expected to occur in February 2021 and October 2021.

Read more, submit your comments, and sign up for project updates on the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains' website: https://www.rcdsmm.org/resources/topanga-lagoon-restoration/

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