Marina del Rey, CA: Why and How MDR Was Created with 1954 U.S. Docs 389 and 780 / Documents and Excerpts

U.S. House Documents 389 and 780 have great relevance to the
Ballona Wetlands Restoration and Marina del Rey - see page 47 of Doc. 389 for a Map.

MDR was created with the combined efforts of U.S. Congress, Los Angeles County & Los Angeles City.

May 13, 1954 US Congress House Document 389, 83rd Congress created Playa del Rey inlet and harbor, Venice, CA, with federal participation in the provision of entrance jetties, entrance channel, and interior channel and central basin recommended in the project report.

Sept 3, 1954 US Congress, Public Law 780, 83rd Congress signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved a federally funded project to create the Marina del Rey harbor and recreation area from 900 acres of the Ballona Wetlands.

Complete 47 pages MDR House Document No. 389 SMB - Public Law 389 5:11:1954   47 page pdf

Annotated House Document No. 780 SMB - Public Law 780 9-3-1954  2 page pdf

Excerpts from the 83rd Congress 2nd Session House of Representatives Document 389.

Page 1 Letter from the Chief of Engineering, Department of the Army, dated August 8, 1952 submitting a report, together with accompanying papers and an illustration, on a preliminary examination and survey of reports on Playa del Rey, Calif., and a review of reports on Playa del Rey Inlet and Basin, Venice, Calif., as authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act approved on August 26, 1937, and requested by a Resolution of the Committee on Commerce, United States Senate, adopted June 2, 1936.

Page 2 The Chief of Engineers recommends, subject to certain conditions of local cooperation, the provision of a harbor at Playa del Rey, Calif. First costs to the United States, including aids to navigation, are estimated at $6,193,000 by the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors. First costs to local interests are estimated at $19,427,000. It is noted that the Board’s estimate of $25,620,000 for the first total costs is based largely on cost estimates made in 1948. On this basis, annual costs are computed to be $933,025. Annual benefits are estimated at $1,296,000. The resulting benefit-cost ratio is 1.4.

President Eisenhower, in his 1955 budget message stated that, “to the greatest extent possible, the responsibility for resource development and its cost, should be borne by those who receive the benefits.” The benefits from Playa del Rey harbor evidently will be largely local in character.

Page 6 Local contributions
At its meeting on April 25, 1946, and June 7, 1949, the City Council of Los Angeles adopted a report declaring that the public interest and welfare of the City of Los Angeles and vicinity require the provision of additional small craft facilities by means of construction of a small craft harbor at Playa del Rey, assisting the Federal Government in such undertaking by assuming those obligations required under Federal law in connection with this project.

By resolution adopted September 28, 1948, and June 7, 1949, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Los Angeles declared that the public interest and welfare of the County of Los Angeles and its citizens require that provision be made for additional small craft facilities by means of construction of a small craft harbor at Playa del Rey.

Page 9 Such dredging will obviously decrease the thickness of impermeable material lying between the floor of the harbor and the top of the water-bearing zone, thereby decreasing the resistance offered to the percolation of sea water into the aquifer.

State Lands Commission . . .comments on April 15, 1952.
We do not believe the project would have any harmful effect on the fisheries. However, the benefit figures given for sport-fishing operations (p.33) are optimistic. Operations at Playa del Rey would draw fisherman away from other landings rather than add new fishermen, it is believed. It would affect a small waterfowl marsh.

Page16 The plan of improvement proposed by the district engineer provides for deposition of 10,130,000 cubic yards of material, dredged from the harbor, on the beaches immediately upcoast of the Playa del Rey jetties downcoast between Playa del Rey and Ballona Creek jetties, and deposition of 3,200,000 cubic yards of material downcoast of the Ballona Creek jetties. Disposal of the dredged material on the downcoast beaches as proposed would provide adequate nourishment for many years, and thereafter the beaches can be maintained in their advanced position by mechanical bypassing of material, a method now being considered in a cooperative beach erosion control study between the United States and the State of California.

Page 19 h) establish a public body to regulate the use and development of the harbor facilities which shall be open to all on equal terms.

Page 24. Flood control. --- The Federal Government completed the Ballona flood-control channel and jetties in 1938. This project was constructed in part under the Emergency Relief Act of 1935 and the remainder under the Flood Control Act approved June 22, 1936.

Page 26. Proposed shoreline improvements. --- The City of Los Angeles voted a bond issue of $10 million, to which other cities in the metropolitan area and the State of California have added $11 million, making a total of $21 million, which will be used for the construction of a complete sewage-treatment plant at Hyperion to replace the present screening plant and outfall sewer. In connection with the preparation of the site for the sewage-treatment plant, the City of Los Angeles has excavated 14,100,000 cubic yards of dune sand, and has deposited it on the beach between Ocean Park and El Segundo (about 5.5 miles). This resulted in a general widening of the beach about 450 feet through-out that distance.

Page 27 The plan of development proposed by local interests includes the following features: Widened and improved beaches, adequate bathhouses and parking areas, picnic facilities, special recreation centers, salt-water bathing pools and children’s wading pools, fishing piers, youth organization camps, tourist parks with cabin and trailer accommodations, and a bird sanctuary to perpetuate the wildlife now inhabiting the area.

Page 31 
49. Effect on wildlife. --- Construction of the proposed harbor would eliminate existing marshlands of some wildlife value. . . Local interests propose to construct a bird refuge about 800 feet wide and 2,500 feet long adjacent to the flood-control channel as part of the overall park development to provide for shore birds nesting in the area. Principal among these birds are killdeer, sandpiper, stilt, and tern. In addition there are many other species of birdlife which are not dependent on the area. 

Page 32
provide for the continuation of this existing birdlife, local interests should construct the bird refuge simultaneously with the construction of the harbor.

Editors Note: Oxford Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary, Pages 27, 31, & 32. In late 2014, Los Angeles County chain-sawed over 650 old growth trees in the *Oxford Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary. *This Bird Sanctuary was designated in U.S. Congress Doc No. 389. In the Document it was to be 800 feet by 2500 feet or a total of 2 million square feet or 44 acres. In actuality, when completed it was only 450,000 square feet or 10.7 acres. 

For more information contact:
Patricia McPherson & Jeanette Vosburg, Sierra Club Airport Marina Group and 
Grassroots Coalition, 310-721-3512 or email  4/12/15

Click here for or electronic files of Documents 389 and 780:

Complete 47 pages MDR House Document No. 389 SMB - Public Law 389 5:11:1954   47 page pdf

Annotated House Document No. 780 SMB - Public Law 780 9-3-1954  2 page pdf

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