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Simple fix for Surfer's Beach erosion not so simple

Interesting and informative meeting put on by the Harbor District and the Army Corp of Engineers this morning on the erosion of Surfer's Beach. The Corp fully acknowledges that the breakwater is the cause for the increased rate of erosion and now the task is to determine what course of action is the most cost effective. The amount of detail in the only plan that has been fully studied — sand transfer from inside the harbor to outside the harbor — is impressive, but the pace of this project is glacial and the level of complexity mind-boggling.

Just the feasibility study alone will not be completed until next summer — and then starts the hard part: design, funding and construction. It will be years before we see any real action (unless someone organizes a bucket brigade!) — and it is entirely possible the project won't even make it to the funding phase at all.

Take a look at Mark Noack's story: Web Link

For those that were at the meeting, what did you think? Was this what you expected? Was there any new info you didn't know?


There are parallels to the old tale of the donkey who starved to death between two piles of food because he couldn't decide which one to choose.

Today's meeting was at least two years later than promised. At this point I think they need to do something that might help while they spend interminable years longer studying it. If that turns out to not fix it, then try something else. The most unacceptable action at this point is inaction.

PCT's schedule lists a showing of the video at 6 am Saturday morning. Run time 1:44.

It's a big planet. Attempts to mediate its interactions between its solids and liquids/gaseous components are anything but good on the whole. Dumb ideas abound. Some of the dumbest in US history came from the US Army Corps of Engineers.


Be that as it may, it's still their responsibility to fix a problem that they admit they caused. Doing nothing is not an option. Doing nothing will eventually destroy El Granada.

PCT has a second showing scheduled at 7:00 pm Monday. Web Link

The Corps moves slower than molasses. Maybe they figure if they delay long enough CalTrans will be forced to pickup the tab.

Ah, now I get it.

Caltrans has stated that they do not consider it an emergency so they're not going to do anything now.

Inspired by Mike H's comment, I now conclude that Caltrans and the Corps are each trying to out-wait the other.

Either that or the intent is to wait until it actually is an emergency in order to bypass all environmental review and permitting.

Finally viewed the video so graciously provided by Peter Grenell's Harbor District team. All harbor district meetings should once again be video streamed against the wishes of grenell and the board majority.

Putting sand on a beach for 6 years is stupid. There isn't enough sand in the first place, and there will be no more sand in the future.

Then we are back here again only I'm POSITIVE it will cost more and be harder to move through the process in the future.

Fix it for now and fix it for good.

If they can do it at fort point, they can do it here.

If they can do it at the old frank torres they can do it at surfers.

That they didn't do something years ago is a mystery, but surprised that the stretch mentioned is HMB's problem and they're so busy trying to knock down bridges and expand city limits that they have more or less ignored surfers.

Not for any particular period,

but for always.

Fix the damned road.

Leave the sand where it is for all I care.

Bigsea, there's a nearly infinite supply of sand just offshore. It's not free to put it up on the beach, but it's not horrendously expensive, either.

Pretty much any approach but beach replenishment is going to fail. That's been the case over, and over again. It may "work" at that location, but it will cause problems somewhere else, often worse than the original problem.

If you type "beach replenishment" into google, you'll get some pretty good info. The wikipedia article seems reasonably balanced, if somewhat light on details (you have to follow the references).

There's some info on beach replenishment projects near San Diego at this link: Web Link

Thank you Dave for the link and direction.

I see now that with specialized equipment there is a way to dredge sand from further out.

Will it miss hippo rock completely?

Are we promised that any sand collecting will be done on reletively formless bottoms?

I already have seen the devestatin done by trawlers, we don't need more pressure from poorly mapped ocean bottoms.

If they're gong to dredge, let's make sure they aren't messing up our habitat even more than it is.

My understanding is that the sand will have to be replaced time and time again.

I want to know the only sand that is being used is sand from a formless ocean floor.

No rocks, no crevices.

Flat and formless.

Otherwise the rush for new sand will see a gradual degradation of our offshore habitats.

Flat and formless bottom, maybe I could be persuaded.

Has a simple bridge ever been considered?

The area at issue is a natural low spot between the bluffs, and most of the erosion problem is the loss of fill added to level the existing roadway through that low.

Erosion is not new in that area, and was not only a post-breakwater problem. Long before the breakwater was built, a storm swamped that area; the topographic contours show that the ocean had long ago carved out a nice little swash zone for itself (now the dirt lot +/-); and as recently as 2009, the area had been shown to be an outlet as far back as the 1860s. docs here: Web Link

So, why are we fighting the ocean? Because we can?

Replenishment is a clever, but short term “solution” (and I use the term loosely)… Take from here, put over there… It does nothing to address the erosive energy that has been focused in that area. We need a solution that will allow the energy to dissipate.

So, why not a bridge?...a simple one…just a road deck on some pilings, with enough space underneath to allow any surge to flow beneath the highway and into that natural low spot if needed.

Energy is the problem. Sand is not the solution.

>>Has a simple bridge ever been considered?<<

Makes sense to me.

I thought that the slide problem could have been fixed with a prefab bridge.

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