Endangered Fish Endangers Malibu Triathlon


Photo: Peathegee Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images

MALIBU (CNS) - This year's Malibu Triathlon appeared bound for cancellation Tuesday due to a combination of a flooded underpass, an endangered fish and concerns about proper public notification about a change in the race route.

The 38th edition of the race -- combining running, swimming and bicycling -- is scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 1. But the Malibu Planning Commission on Monday may have doomed the event by rejecting a needed permit.

The course for the race, which annually attracts thousands of participants, traditionally passes through a Zuma Beach undercrossing at Busch Drive. But recent heavy rains have left that underpass covered in water -- water that is now occupied by an endangered fish known as the tidewater goby.

In previous years, flooding issues have been resolved by the use of a temporary bridge crossing, but the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife will not allow such a structure due to the presence of the endangered fish, according to the city.

As a result, race organizers were forced to reconfigure the race route -- but that required a fresh review of the event's city permit. Organizers submitted a new permit application, but city planners said the application came too late to meet the city's required 32-day public notice.

During Monday night's Planning Commission meeting, the panel deadlocked in a 2-2 vote -- with one member absent -- on the new permit, effectively rejecting it. The two commissioners who voted against the permit cited the public-notice requirement.

Commissioner Skylar Peak, who supported the permit, told Fox11 on Tuesday that race organizers can appeal the issue to the City Council, which is scheduled to meet next Monday. But it was unclear if there was enough time for the matter to be placed on the agenda and considered before the scheduled race.

As of Tuesday, there had been no official announcement from race organizers about the status of the event.

According to the race website, the event annually raises nearly $1 million for pediatric cancer research at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. It also annually attracts a list of celebrity participants, with past competitors including Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Robin Williams, Teri Hatcher and Mario Lopez.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content