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I'm well overdue blogging about the proposed Beacon's Beach trail refurbishment.
I've been meaning to stop by the city and check out the plans in person before I started whining about it on the internet but I lag.
This Thursday, 6 pm at city hall there is going to be a public meeting about the new Beacon's trail. If you frequent this part of Leucadia you know that sections of the dirt trail down to Beacon's beach are constantly collapsing. The other popular beaches in Encinitas; Swami's, D-St and Grandview all have nice staircases while Beacon's has a rapidly eroding dirt trail.
Here is the pdf link about the meeting from the city website, click me
Here is the Union Tribune story that ran about the Beacon's trail the other week: click me
You'll find in that article that the Surfrider Foundation is against any sort of sea wall at the base of the trail and will sue the city to block it.
I personally view the wall as less of a sea wall that will disrupt sand migration and more of a basic retaining wall that will keep the trail from sliding down the cliff ( I must again note that I haven't yet seen the actual plans).
The Surfrider Foundation has a no tolerance policy towards sea walls. I think sea walls should be considered on a case by case basis.
The city has proposed building a 450-foot-long sea wall – the length of the beach – to keep the bluff from crumbling, said John Frenken, the city's park and beach superintendent.
The sea wall would be 17 feet high, but most of it would be below sand level, leaving about 6 feet visible. Steel anchors would be connected to bedrock to stabilize the upper bluff face. The $5 million project includes building new stairways, a lifeguard tower and showers.
Missing from this plan are some sort of public restrooms. Porti-potties would be fine even.
A friend of mine who grew up in Leucadia posted about the Beacon's trail on a surfing message board and a representive of Surfrider posted this reply:
First, I am responding to this without the consent of the current Executive Committee of the San Diego Chapter of Surfrider Foundation. But I have been part of the leadership for some time. For the record, all of the following comments are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of other Surfrider members, the San Diego Chapter, or National. I'm simply trying to give some of the principles on which Surfrider has based their actions.
The San Diego Chapter of Surfrider Foundation has been very active in fighting seawalls for a over 10 years. The reason we're opposed to them is because they impede the natural migration of the coast eastward, as historically has occurred for millions of years. Why does this matter to surfers? Impeding the natural sediment flow takes away the public's beach to preserve structures that have been built on an eroding bluff. You don't build in a floodplain because your house would get washed away; similarly, you don't build a house on an eroding bluff because it will fall in the ocean. The public's use of the beach serves more people than a few homeowners. It's unfortunate for the homeowners, but the public deserves to keep its public resources.
On the Beacon's issue, we were asked to review redesign plans several years ago because there is an active slide in the area. The SD Chapter was not comfortable endorsing the plan because it called for permanent or semi-permanent structures on the bluff; endorsing that would have contradicted our then-active lawsuits in Solana Beach.
This is an extremely complicated issue with many angles/facets. The bottom line is that Surfrider Foundation is opposed to armoring the coastline. The coastline is a dynamic - not static - environment. Our infrastructure, urban planning, and future development should reflect that.
I'm sure many of you want to send me email and get more specifics. Unfortunately, I have a full-time job like (most) of the rest of you and a wife (read - I don't have time to answer everyone's questions one-on-one). I'm trying to give you the gist of Surfrider's stance, but our attorneys at Coast Law Group can elaborate in far greater detail than myself. I have volunteered with the Chapter for nine years while working full-time as an environmental consultant and wildlife biologist. I've been to many public hearings (taking time off from work or in the evenings) while serving as Chairman of the Chapter. Our attorneys also work pro-bono on Surfrider issues and volunteer much of their free time while trying to raise families and make ends meet amidst SoCal's high cost of living. I encourage all of you to contact our full-time employee, Bill Hickman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or better yet, come to a Chapter meeting and get involved. Educate yourselves. We need more people to get involved and understand the full effects of coastal armoring.
See you in the water,
San Diego Chapter
I hope Surfrider presents an alternative idea instead of just shutting down this proposal.
Here is a photo I took of Beacon's during our last 7 ft+ high tide. As you can see even with this extreme tide the surfline does not reach the cliffs.
Granted the waves are not very big this day. A high tide during a gnarly winter storm may reach the base of the trail and the sea wall. I guess the fear is that the beach sand will be stripped away from the wall during such a storm.
So my question is, could we design a sea wall that is jagged shape, something that sand can cling too? Could we design a sea wall with nook and crannies that plants could take root in and birds could nest in? A smarter better sea wall? Any engineers out there?
It seems to me that a lot of people on both sides of the coin have never even spent any quality time at Beacon's are going to be making some big decisions on it's future.
Can we preserve the natural beauty of the bluff and still have safe passage to the beach?
North Beacon's has an old sea wall that juts out into the surf during high tides. Sand seems to be doing a good job of staying around here. In fact there is too much sand on the reef for the waves to be as good as they can get there.