Marina del Rey's only public beach has reopened, 16 months after it was closed because of high levels of fecal bacteria.
The county Health Department on Feb. 2 gave final approval for "Mothers' Beach" to reopen after bacteria levels in the water were found to be acceptable for several weeks.
The beach's nickname came about because many mothers, attracted by the tranquil water, take their children there.
The county Department of Beaches and Harbors waited until this weekend to reopen the beach so it could first notify the county Small Craft Harbor Commission. The commission, which oversees matters at the marina, met Wednesday.
A study released in October blamed the water pollution on droppings from shore birds that gathered near the beach. Larry Charness, chief of planning for the county Department of Beaches and Harbors, said the droppings accumulated in the silt and sediment in the horseshoe-shaped beach area bounded by Palawan, Admiralty and Panay ways in Basin D. The silt and sediment were stirred up with changes in the tide.
Charness said the problem was resolved by stringing nylon fishing line across palms trees 10 to 12 feet above the high tide line at the beach.
He said he does not know why the line discourages the birds from landing on the beach, but he said that fishing line is also used at many landfills to keep birds away.
Charness said the shore birds have been landing on buoys deeper in the marina channel. The deeper water is expected to wash away any fecal bacteria.
The study also had found that runoff from a parking lot near the Cheesecake Factory restaurant and from the Oxford Flood Control Basin, where there is a shelter for abandoned animals, contributed to the pollution. County officials plan to reroute the runoff.
Landing on Buoys
Although the animal sanctuary was not found to be the primary cause of the pollution, as once thought, county officials recently decided to remove the animals. They cited complaints from nearby residents.
Officials had installed an aeration pump at the beach in April, but had limited success with it and recently dismantled it and gave it to the Parks Department for other uses.