Sunday, April 29, 2007
Swamis Rip Rap, a Beacon's bluff solution?
Swamis beach March 2007
San Diego Union Tribune story about the Swamis "riprap" boulders which have done a dang good job of keeping the bluff stable.
On the edge of a solution for bluffs
Fellowship successful in preventing collapse
The story includes a history of the Self-Realization Fellowship's efforts to stabilize the Swami's bluffs.
Personally I like the riprap. I grew up hanging out on those boulders and always wondered why it wasn't used in Solana Beach.
In the 1980s, the fellowship came up with a simple three-pronged plan to stop the bluff collapses:
Drill wells and install pumps to send groundwater away from the bluff face and into a city storm drain that runs through the fellowship grounds.
Plant deep-rooted vegetation on the bluff face to hold the sand together.
Build a 1,500-foot-long wall of boulders, or riprap, at the toe of the bluffs to dissipate the crashing waves.
From the article:
Not an easy start
Before the system was installed, things were less than serene under the fellowship's lawns.
Water accumulated under the low-lying Second and K streets adjacent to the grounds and crept westward, leading to the collapse of the temple, said Steve Aceti, (dude, Aceti is everywhere!) government and community relations representative for the fellowship.
In 1981, the monastics got permission from the then-San Diego Coast Regional Commission – later replaced by the umbrella California Coastal Commission – to build the riprap wall at the bottom of the bluff. The ring of protective boulders cost the fellowship $270,900. (That is a good price. I wonder what riprap cost these days? I bet it is cheaper than building a seawall)
That same year, in an apparently misguided effort to smooth out and stabilize the bluffs, the fellowship graded them without a permit. (Barratt American CEO Michael D Pattinson would be proud. He says if you grade your property with a bulldozer without a permit then you are a great American hero like Rosa Parks) link
Workers suspended a bulldozer from a crane at the blufftop and ended up causing 3,500 square feet of bluff between J and K streets to topple under the weight of the heavy equipment, a San Diego Coast Regional Commission report stated. (Yeah, well...Heroes slice through the red tape)
The fellowship was fined $15,000, an unprecedented amount at the time, and ordered to plant vegetation on the bluff face.
The monks and nuns experimented with 51 varieties of plants and narrowed their choice to acacia and atriplex breweri, also known as saltbush, because they are drought-resistant and can tolerate salt air. The revegetation project cost $2,400. (I believe that vegetation is the key to stabilizing the bluff at Beacon's Beach. Let's plant some acacia and atriplex asap)
Local residents who are familiar with it are so impressed that they have suggested that the city replicate it at the popular Beacon's Beach in Leucadia. City officials are examining how to shore up the crumbling 85-foot-tall bluffs that are threatening a parking lot at the top and a trail down the cliff face. (see photos at bottom of post comparing Swami's and Beacon's)
The city has taken the suggestion into consideration and is drafting a final environmental review for the Beacon's project. However, city engineers say the geological structure of the Beacon's bluffs may be different from the fellowship's, and for now, they suggest a sea wall. (No, No, No! A seawall is just going to get the city sued by the Surfrider Foundation and it's costly, exceeding the state grant money by millions and we don't need it anyway. The city engineers need to chill on the seawall.)
Not everyone is a fan of the fellowship's measures.
Todd Cardiff, an advisory board member of the Surfrider Foundation's San Diego chapter, criticizes the riprap for taking up beach space that could have been used for recreation. (Todd Cardiff is out of mind here. The riprap takes up too much space and prohibits recreation? That is absurd. Bro, I grew up building forts on the Swami's riprap. That is where the locals hang out. We put on our boards on it, sit up on it giving a good view of the surf, the riprap is great and the locals have adapted to it) Cardiff also contends that it keeps the ocean from doing its natural job – eroding the bluffs to make sand for beaches.
(This whole "we need the bluffs to erode as quickly as possible" movement needs to end. If guys like Todd Cardiff had their way the Beacon's bluff would be eroded all the way to Gary Murphy's house by now)
“We prefer that everybody locate structures far enough away from the bluffs to not need bluff-protection devices,” Cardiff said. (Should we move the Swamis parking lot east of the coast highway?)
I think that riprap and vegetation are superior to a seawall at Beacon's. What do you think?
Riprap works great for Swamis...
but can it help Beacon's which has a more sloped bluff down to the beach? The Beacon's bluff is obviously eroding from the top. Shoring up the top with drainage and vegetation might be more effective than riprap at the base of the bluff.
SEE ALSO: aerial view of Swami's.