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The Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) are coastal areas designated by the State of California where fragile biological and marine communities must be protected. Malibu is adjacent to ASBS No. 24 (designated in 1974), which stretches from Latigo Point to Laguna Point. The regulations set forth by the State to protect these coastal habitats are intended to maintain natural water quality standards by preventing pollution from entering the ASBS.
No. However, residents may not allow fluids to runoff of their property because the runoff can enter the storm drain system or deposit pollution on the street that will be carried to the ocean with the next rain. These runoff restrictions derive from the requirements in the Federal Clean Water Act, the California Water Code Section 13000 et. seq., the California Ocean Plan, and the Los Angeles Region Water Quality Control Plan (also referred to as the Basin Plan).
These regulations are implemented locally through Malibu's Municipal Code (MMC), including the following sections:
The requirements for new landscaping can be found in MMC Section 9.22.090, Landscape water conservation design standards.
Living next to the majestic Pacific Ocean comes with a price and, in Malibu, everyone is obligated to do their part to protect the ocean and its fragile marine communities. The key to eliminating runoff is preventing water from leaving your property and flowing into the street. If water is leaving your property, the first step is to locate the water's source. The most common sources of runoff are over-irrigation, car washing, and hosing down sidewalks or driveways, but runoff can also come from broken pipes, greywater connections or pool backwash, among other things. Once the source of the runoff is determined, you can assess the best remedy for the problem.
The State Water Resources Control Board adopted a plan (officially "Special Protections") on March 20, 2012, which provides more detail on how the waste discharge prohibition is to be applied in local communities. These protections specify what concrete actions must be taken to protect California's ASBS.
The protections require the elimination of nearly all non-stormwater discharges to the ASBS. The City applied for and received two grants from the State to install structural Best Management Practices (BMP), structural facilities that can catch and treat polluted runoff before reaching the ASBS. In 2015, the City completed installation of structural BMPs at storm drains on Wildlife Rd and Whitesands Pl in Point Dume, and along Broad Beach Rd. The structural BMPs will improve the water quality of stormwater runoff that drains to those catch basins, which will complement residents' efforts to stop non-stormwater runoff and comply with the Special Protections. The grant also funded the City's Coastal Preservation Specialist position, a two-year staff position dedicated to conducting ASBS education and outreach with the Malibu community. A permanent Environmental Programs Specialist position was added to City staff upon the conclusion of the two-year, grant-funded term.
The California Ocean Plan, adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board, prohibits waste discharges into the ASBS. One way waste is discharged to the ASBS is through pipes that drain directly to the ASBS; another way is through dry-weather runoff (runoff not from precipitation) that flows over the land and eventually drains to the ocean. Runoff, no matter where it starts, may pick up pollutants as it flows over impervious surfaces. That polluted water eventually drains to the ocean through storm drains or natural streams and creeks. This runoff may harm the fragile biological and marine communities, which is why the State prohibits "waste" discharges into the ASBS and why best management practices (BMPs) must be used to prevent such discharges.