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Marine Institute Blocked From Beach Restoration Project By Government Agency

REDWOOD CITY - A non-profit group in Redwood City wants to clean up its local beach but the organization is being met with roadblocks.

The Marine Science Institute teaches kids about ocean life. Years ago, the group received a $50,000 grant to restore the beach on its property but one government agency won't let the non-profit spend the money.

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission is a government agency tasked with protecting the bay and overseeing projects that may impact the environment. Right now, the agency won't let MSI use the grant money for restoration as intended.

"All the reasons are there to give us the permit I have no idea why they've dug their heels in and wont give it," said Marine Science Institute executive director Marilou Seiff.

She received the grant money back in 2013, six other government organizations have given her the green light. But BCDC is asking the non-profit to carry out an erosion study first to determine how long the beach will stay intact before eroding again,

Seiff says the organization cannot afford the study.

"The least expensive study, that we don't think would even be helpful, is $20,000," Seiff said.

The BCDC did not respond to KPIX 5 requests for comment on the proposed restoration. The agency is being audited by the state for concerns of "overzealous enforcement."

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission has been accused by nearly a dozen other organizations of being heavy handed with fines, and permit applications.

Seiff says she's concerned about how BCDC is granting permits. She says The Marine Science Institute is at risk of losing the grant money. If it's not spent by the end of 2018, it will be taken away.

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