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South Bay Digest

Wilmington : Harbor Lake Cleanup

March 12, 1987

The California Assembly's Natural Resources Committee voted 7 to 5 Monday to approve a measure aimed at cleaning up pollution in Wilmington's Harbor Lake and sent it to the Ways and Means Committee.

The bill by Assemblyman Dave Elder (D-Long Beach) would allow the state Coastal Conservancy to spend up to $500,000 in state bond funds to reduce pollution and restore marshland at the 100-acre lake, owned by the city of Los Angeles.

Last year, Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed a similar proposal, saying that the city of Los Angeles should pay to clean up the lake, located south of Pacific Coast Highway and west of the Harbor Freeway.

Elder said that he revived the bill because he believes the veto was based on "a misunderstanding" over which authorities--state or city--have the expertise to perform the cleanup.

Elder's bill seeks to place Harbor Lake inside the state coastal zone to allow the Oakland-based conservancy to consider making the improvements but would not require it to do so. The conservancy was established by the Legislature to preserve coastal open space.

The lake is a stopover for migratory birds and a nesting site for the least tern, which is listed as an endangered species by state and federal agencies.

Four years ago elevated levels of toxic chemicals were detected in fish in the lake, and state officials have been studying whether South Bay storm drains are the source of the pollution.

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