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Army Corps Makes Permit Decision For San Pedro Waterfront Project

Published May 13, 2011
LOS ANGELES – Regulators from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District granted a permit May 11 to the Port of Los Angeles for the Port’s proposed San Pedro Waterfront Project, a 400-acre shoreline redevelopment project primarily along the west side of the Main Channel from the Vincent Thomas Bridge to the Outer Harbor at Cabrillo Beach adjacent to the San Pedro Breakwater.

The project will create three harbors, adding seven acres of new open water to the waterfront, install an over-water promenade and construct various other commercial and recreational improvements, including the relocation of Catalina Express to Berth 94. The permit also requires restoration and establishment of mudflat, eelgrass and salt marsh habitats in the Salinas de San Pedro Salt Marsh near Inner Cabrillo Beach as compensatory mitigation for the project’s minor impacts to mudflat and eelgrass habitat.

Before construction can begin, the Port must also receive approval from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board and from the California Coastal Commission.

David Castanon, Chief of Regulatory Division in the Corps’ Los Angeles District, approved the permit, writing that, “… the proposed Project … is the alternative that best meets the purpose and need of the project and will have the least impact on the human and natural environment.”

The permit decision and supporting environmental impact statement (EIS) assess the effects of implementing the project on the biological, physical and socioeconomic environment, and discuss the mitigation measures required to minimize and compensate for those adverse effects, including the activities to improve the condition of Salinas de San Pedro Salt Marsh, as well as protective measures for historic cultural resources.

The project will dredge more than 460,000 cubic yards of sediment and beneficially reuse a large portion in the redevelopment of upland areas in Port and for beach nourishment at Cabrillo Beach.  Dredged material not useful for beneficial reuse will be disposed at an EPA-approved offshore disposal site and at off-site upland disposal sites.

The project will provide improved access for residents and visitors to the enhanced waterfront and will benefit the state’s economy as the Port would support berthing of larger cruise ships which would attract additional visitors to the area.

The Port, who worked closely with the Corps on the EIS, estimates the project will generate about 19,000 jobs during construction and about 5,600 jobs when complete. The Port also estimates the project will generate about $340 million in revenue from cruise activity by 2037.

“There are many factors to consider in making a balanced decision,” said Dr. Spencer MacNeil, Chief of the Corp’s Transportation and Special Projects Branch. “We worked very closely with the Port of Los Angeles and with various resource and regulatory agencies during the past five years to achieve the best balance in meeting the environmental, economic and social needs of the Port communities, the region and the state.”

Greg Fuderer

Release no. 11-005