Last month the NCT ran this strange story in their science and technology section. I thought I had accidentally clicked on The Onion.
Losing Ground: North County's shoreline victim of natural process
By: DAVE DOWNEY - Staff Writer
NORTH COUNTY ---- If only Santa Catalina Island were bigger. The popular tourist destination off the shore of Orange County is 22 miles long and 8 miles across at its widest point. Even at its smallish size, its rocky bulk shelters beaches from Oceanside to Los Angeles from giant winter waves and helps them retain sand, according to a new study by scientists at UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Similarly, other Channel Islands get credit for the relatively wide and sandy beaches around Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Farther south, much of North County lies outside of Santa Catalina's shadow. Its beaches bear the brunt of brutal winter swells. Consequently, local beaches tend not to be as sandy as those elsewhere in Southern California, said Bill O'Reilly, a senior development engineer at Scripps who spearheaded the study, in an interview last week.
O'Reilly recently presented study findings to the San Diego Association of Governments' shoreline preservation committee, which is contemplating another sand replenishment project like the one in 2001 that beefed up a dozen scrawny beaches from North County to Imperial Beach. The committee has decided to shop around for state and federal grants to defray the estimated $25 million cost of dredging sand from the ocean floor and spreading it on six miles of beaches.
After the presentation, Steve Aceti, executive director of the Encinitas-based California Coastal Coalition and a committee member, joked that the panel's priorities might be misplaced.
"All these years, we've been talking about trying to get a grant for more sand," Aceti quipped. "We ought to be talking about getting a grant to make Catalina Island bigger."
Ha-Ha, that' great. We've now established that Steve Aceti is not a surfer because no surfer would choose to reduce our swell window even more. (Aceti is not a scientist either, he is a political lobbyist, so why is he quoted in the science section of the paper?)
The article spends a lot of time blaming Catalina and lagoons for our lack of sand and passes over man made structures like harbors and jetties.
If we are going to blame Catalina we might as well start blaming the moon. The moon affects tides and high tides can strip and move the sand around overnight. Aceti might as well quip that we need a smaller moon. Then Michael D Pattinson can write an op-ed piece about crazy moon lovers and their crazy moon loving agenda against sand.
It's funny, northern and central California have wide open swell windows, get 50 foot waves and lots of rain and storms. Yet, there are many beautiful sandy beaches in central and northern California. They also have massive kelp forest that dwarf anything we've had for decades. These giant kelp forest protect the beaches and coast by grooming the massive swells.
Maybe it's time north county politicos starts giving a damn about our local kelp beds, that's something we can actually make "a little bigger".
This image ran with the NCT story. It shows a swell model and the "shadows" the islands cast. This image doesn't tell the whole story because the angle and size of the swell is constantly changing. This image is of a rare big west swell.
To see this swell model in real time click here. Be sure to check out the other regions of California.