Last night at the weekly board of supervisors meeting at San Francisco’s city hall, coastal advocates from Save The Waves and SF Surfrider joined local residents in a passionate debate with the Department of Public Works (DPW) and city supervisors over the use of giant rocks to “armor” the beach south of Sloat Boulevard at Ocean Beach.
Led by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who also serves on the California Coastal Commission, coastal advocates won a one-week delay of the dumping of rocks on the beach to shore up eroding bluffs and protect threatened city infrastructure, including the Great Highway and an underground sewer tunnel. Recent weather and heavy surf has eaten away at the bluffs to create the present emergency, yet the issue has been a sore point for city officials, residents and environmentalists for almost two decades. In 1999 the Ocean Beach Task Force, made up of local residents, community leaders, city agencies, and coastal engineering experts, was created to research and recommend long-term solutions to the erosion problem of the beach south of Sloat, but their task force findings and recommendations have been largely ignored by the City for over seven years. This inaction is partly responsible for the severe erosion problems and infrastructure risks that the City now faces.
San Francisco’s DPW is proposing a $2.6 million-dollar short-term solution to dump tons of large boulders on the beach that would be trucked in and dumped over the edge of the Great Highway south of Sloat Boulevard to protect the base of the bluffs from further erosion and wave action.
“We recognize that something needs to be done in the short-term, specifically to help protect the sewer tunnel,” says Dean LaTourrette, executive director of Save The Waves. “But continuing to throw rocks at the ocean in the hopes of changing Mother Nature simply doesn’t work – it’s a waste of time and money. Local recommendations have been repeatedly ignored and now the City wants taxpayers to pay the high financial and environmental price caused by their inaction. Long-term solutions based on a managed retreat strategy, including the relocation of at-risk infrastructure, as well as natural sand bluff restoration, must be initiated immediately.”
This week is crucial in the fight to save Sloat from rock armoring, and Save The Waves and SF Surfrider are now teaming up with the Ocean Beach Vision Council and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi to find a less harmful and more visionary solution to these coastal erosion problems. Stay tuned at www.savethewaves.org and follow @SaveTheWaves on Twitter to see how you can help.
Save The Waves encourages members of the public to attend the board of supervisors meeting at 2pm next Tuesday, February 2 at San Francisco’s city hall to voice their support for the long-term vision and solutions to the erosion problem at Ocean Beach. ____________________________________________________________
About Save The Waves Coalition: Save The Waves Coalition is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the coastal environment, with an emphasis on the surf zone, and educating the public about its value. Save The Waves is a 501(c)3 non-profit. http://www.savethewaves.org