Port of Long Beach – Water quality programs result in port biodiversity

Since adoption of the landmark Green Port Policy by the Port of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in 2005, the Port of Long Beach (POLB) has continued to lead the industry on environmental initiatives. One important aspect of the Green Port Policy is water quality. The POLB has made significant improvements to our receiving water quality through reductions in stormwater pollutants and remedial dredging to address legacy sediment contamination.

POLB staff have developed strong relationships with tenant operators through over two decades of annual stormwater compliance visits. These relationships have supported increased implementation of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) resulting in overall reductions of pollutants in stormwater runoff. In 2013, the POLB developed a stormwater design manual to further guide the design and installation of post construction BMPs within development/redevelopment projects. Since 2010, the Port has installed over one hundred BMPs, including hydrodynamic separators, bioswales, biofiltration units, Austin sand vaults, and full trash capture screens. The POLB is also exploring stormwater capture and diversion to the sanitary sewer to eliminate stormwater runoff while aiding future drought resiliency efforts in our region.

In addition, the POLB has dredged several million cubic yards of sediment over the last decade as part of ongoing capital and maintenance dredge efforts, including the removal of 502,984 cy of contaminated sediment from legacy Navy operations within the POLB West Basin. We are actively working to dredge 40,000 cy of impacted sediment from legacy operations in our Inner Harbor.

The success of these and other water quality improvement programs is documented in the continued increase in biodiversity within our harbor. The POLB conducts harbor-wide biological surveys every five years. The 2018 Biosurvey recorded the highest biodiversity ever in the Harbor complex, including increases in species that are most sensitive to pollution such as abalone and garibaldi.