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Construction to Filter and Divert Runoff to Begin in April
miocean Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping local communities keep pollution out of their coastal waters, has partnered with the City of Dana Point, the County of Orange, the South Coast Water District and the California State Water Resources Control Board to help clean up the watershed at Doheny State Beach's North Creek.
Since its establishment in 2001, miocean has been a catalyst for the Doheny project, raising awareness and providing tools and funding on a local level to reduce and eventually eliminate urban runoff before it pollutes the ocean. Working closely with private engineering firms, citizens and local authorities, including Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom Wilson and City of Dana Point councilman Wayne Rayfield, miocean has been instrumental in forging a close public-private sector partnership and has donated $100,000 to the project.
Despite being identified as one of the most polluted beaches in the area, Doheny is a favorite destination for families and surfers. miocean is focusing its initial efforts on Doheny's watershed at North Creek, which runs underneath the Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Harbor Drive and other areas and where the water runoff overflow has formed a septic pond on the beach. The contaminated pool of water, referred to by local residents as "Polio Pond," presents a health hazard to both unsuspecting beach-goers and wildlife from nearby wetlands.
"Cleaning up the ocean won't happen overnight, but it can happen over time through the united efforts of local residents, businesses, organizations and governments," said Orange County resident John Moody, who co-founded and jointly chairs miocean with Keith Ross, who also resides in Orange County. "We are confident that the Doheny project will be the first in a series of successful campaigns to protect our most precious coastal resource -- the ocean." United States Congressman Christopher Cox, who represents California's 48th Congressional District, including Dana Point, and who is a member of miocean's Public Advisory Board added, "This is exactly the kind of leadership we need to preserve our ocean."
As a first step in addressing the North Creek watershed, PBSJ Engineers of San Diego was hired to develop plans for filtering and diverting the runoff to a nearby sanitary sewer system. The City of Dana Point City Council, the County of Orange and the South Coast Water District authorities approved the plans in March 2003. The project will commence construction in April 2003 with an expected completion date of August 2003.
"In the same year we formed miocean, there were 13,000 beach closures and advisories," Ross said. "This is simply unacceptable. Our mission is ambitious, but through highly focused public-private sector collaboration, we aim to achieve our goal of cleaning up the California coastline one beach at a time."