SAN PEDRO, Calif. — October 25, 2007 — With a grant of $50,000 in matching funds from the Annenberg Foundation, the Port of Los Angeles is initiating a “visioning process” with the Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI) to explore the potential of creating a world-class marine research facility at the Port of Los Angeles.  The planning process will be spearheaded by scientists and top officials from the Port and the University of Southern California’s College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. 

Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz publicly announced proposed marine research center concept and the Annenberg grant at the October 18 Los Angeles Harbor Commission meeting. The facility would be sited at City Dock No. 1 and include a marine research complex that could benefit and engage the local community for government and institutional laboratories, academic facilities, a research-and-development incubator for business innovations, and land-side support for at-sea programs.

“We’re honored that the Annenberg Foundation recognizes the importance of marine studies in our changing environment, and the wealth of learning, community involvement and research possibilities that could be realized through a multi-faceted marine institution at the Port of Los Angeles,” said Knatz.  “The foundation’s financial assistance and support of this visioning process for City Dock No. 1  illustrates the value that a wide range of stakeholders see in creating a 21st Century facility that could help advance the marine sciences for the benefit of our environment, students of all ages, and marine-focused industry.”

Wallis Annenberg, vice president of the Annenberg Foundation said, “We believe in work that can potentially help solve our society’s complex problems while improving people’s lives locally. We support the vision of a pre-eminent marine research institute on the West Coast and hope that others will collaborate to make it a reality.”

With more than 4,500 linear feet of potential berth space, 445,000 square feet of vintage warehouse space available for adaptive re-use, and deep-sea access within minutes, the roughly 30-acre parcel situated on the oldest municipal pier in San Pedro provides an ideal location for the complex.  The site presently encompasses the Westway liquid bulk terminal; Warehouse One, the oldest warehouse structure at the Port; and 180,000 square feet of berth-side shed space.

USC scientists described the proposed site in the south end of the harbor as large enough to vastly expand marine and environmental research and education in the Port area . The Annenberg grant and matching Port funds will support a feasibility study conducted by the Port and USC College faculty along with university partners in SCMI, a consortium of USC College, 10 California State University campuses and Occidental College.

“As a partner in this planning venture, we see this as presenting researchers with the opportunity to conduct big science along the LA waterfront," said Anthony Michaels, Ph.D., professor at USC College and director of the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies. "We're eager to be part of a planning process that appears to have great potential and which is based right here in our backyard.”

The project ideally would grow to involve not only the 12 universities but also secondary schools and their students, the local community, government laboratories and researchers, as well as industry.

The USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies operates research and educational facilities on the USC campus at College Park, at the Port of Los Angeles and on Santa Catalina Island.

Established in 1989 by Walter H. Annenberg, the Annenberg Foundation provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally through its headquarters in Radnor, Pennsylvania and offices in Los Angeles, California. Its major program areas are education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; and animal services and the environment. In addition, the Foundation operates a number of initiatives which expand and complement these program areas. The Annenberg Foundation exists to advance the public well-being through improved communication. As the principal means of achieving this goal, the Foundation encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.

Celebrating its Centennial in 2007, the Port of Los Angeles is America's premier port. As the leading seaport in the nation in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. At the Port of Los Angeles, high priority is placed on responsible and sustainable growth initiatives, combined with high security, environmental stewardship and community outreach. For its industry leading environmental initiatives, the Port received two Environmental Protection Agency awards in 2006. The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port. A brighter future.