The Woolsey fire has destroyed hundreds of homes in Malibu.
…Though the city will rebuild, it will never be the same. The same may be true of Malibu’s abundant wild lands and famous shoreline.
The fire burned through 83 percent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, or about 130 square miles, an area approximately the size of Detroit. That represents a major habitat loss for the area’s best-known species, including mountain lions and bobcats. But the fire and its aftereffects could endanger the entire ecosystem from the ground up.
…Local scientists said mudflows could upset the delicate ecosystem of Malibu Lagoon, an estuary at Malibu Point, as well as the Santa Monica Bay and the area’s watershed. “If there’s a tremendous amount of sediment, the nutrients that come along with that could impair water quality and contribute to harmful algal blooms,” said Tom Ford, executive director of the Bay Foundation. “Organisms … could be buried or displaced by sediment moving down into streams, the lagoon or the open ocean”…