Long Beach community members and dignitaries celebrated the completion of the latest phase of the Colorado Lagoon Restoration Project Saturday morning. A ribbon cutting ceremony, educational activities and musical entertainment by the band Dad Company drew attention to the latest restorative improvements made to the lagoon.

“We’ve made major strides improving the Colorado Lagoon over the past few years and these latest enhancements will help return the Lagoon back to its glory days,” Mayor Robert Garcia, said in a statement. “The restoration of this historic area will benefit future generations that are learning to understand and appreciate the wetlands.”

Hydraulic sediment dredging is one of the latest restoration improvements, ensuring the compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act and to meet the approved Colorado Lagoon sediment and water quality targets. New subtidal and eelgrass habitats have also been added.

“The Colorado Lagoon is an amazingly beautiful place for community recreation, including swimming, picnicking, and walking on the new walking paths,” Councilwoman Suzie Price said in a statement. “It is also an amazing ecological asset featuring native plants and birds above water and marine species under water. Colorado Lagoon is fantastic, and the recent renovations make it even more accessible to the public and increase its sustainability and environmental vitality.”

Improvements on the north side of the Lagoon included the installation of a new decomposed granite walking trail, pedestrian bridge improvements, reclaimed water irrigation system, replanting with native species and a vegetated bioswale to assist with the removal of pollution from surface runoff water, according to the release.

“The completion of this phase of the Colorado Lagoon Restoration Project is an important milestone,” Christine Whitcraft, president of Friends of the Colorado Lagoon and wetlands biologist, said in a statement. “Urban wetlands like the Colorado Lagoon are incredibly important resources to the community. This project provides the community a glimpse of how great this wetland can be.”

The Tidelands Capital Budget, which can only be used for projects on the California coast or adjacent to the coast, funded the $3.187 million Colorado Lagoon project.

This most recent set of improvements, which began in September 2016, is a part of a multi-phase restoration plan, including previous improvements completed in 2010 and 2012. The final component of the Colorado Lagoon’s approved master restoration involves creating an open channel between the lagoon and Marine Stadium.

The city is working closely with its State and Federal Agency partners, as well as the Port of Long Beach, on the funding and construction of the upcoming open channel.

For more information about the Long Beach Public Works Department, visit the webpage here.  

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].