Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Coastal Commission Set to Vote on LCP / Westside Pumpstation

Beach blight south of Sloat
It's time to move forward with long-term plan.

Greetings Surfriders,

The next meeting of the Coastal Commission is now set.  It will be held up north in Santa Rosa on May 9 - 11.  Typically the North Central District agenda comes up on the second day which would be May 10th.  The agenda has not officially been posted yet.  We'll update this post when it becomes available.   Here is the official link to the Commission's hearing page.

California Coastal Commission Meeting 
Wednesday May 9 - Friday May 11 
County Administration Center Board of Supervisor's Chambers
575 Administration Dr,
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

In the mean time, please draft an email letter to help with the campaign. We will post the email link when it appears with the May agenda. Here's a sample to get going: 

I _____ (hike, surf, fish, enjoy etc.) Ocean Beach.  Today I am writing in support of the Local Coastal Plan amendment to address the erosion issue south of Sloat. By relocating the road and parking lots, the rock can be removed and the beach properly restored. At the same time, I am concerned that the proposed Westside Pumpstation upgrade could hinder our efforts to pursue additional managed retreat in the future. Due to the effects of climate change and sea level rise, managed retreat of the wastewater infrastructure will eventually be needed to preserve this stretch of Ocean Beach.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Pumpstation Issue Postponed

A new sand replenishment project is now being installed for the erosion site. For more info, see:
While we appreciate the temporary improvement this work brings to the beach condition, it is time to implement the long-managed retreat plan. 

Greetings Surfriders,

Thanks to your help, the Coastal Commission voted to postpone the Westside Pumpstation upgrade project until the May meeting. We will have more info on how you can help with this issue by mid-April. 

A significant number of the Commissioners were sympathetic to our argument. Even those inclined to support the project - such as our own Aaron Peskin - recognized that the City should at least have an updated Local Coastal Plan approved before this new development goes thru. To view the video recorded hearing, see item 10A in the video replay.

We believe the permit postponement is a good outcome as the added time provides a window for all to consider the implications of this project, both long-term and short.

Ultimately, if California's coastal towns are going to protect their beaches from eroding away, they need to weigh the benefits of relocating development away from the water.  Seawalls and revetments typically harm beaches.  Sand replenishment is not going to be a sustainable, long-term fix.

Thanks for checking in....

Friday, March 2, 2018

New Wastewater Infrastructure at Sloat Undermines Long-Term Managed Retreat Planning

The last thing we need is for the City to place more vital infrastructure in harm's way. 
Dear Activists,

We are dismayed to report that SFPUC, unbeknown to us until very recently - is seeking a Coastal Commission permit to build new wastewater infrastructure at Sloat. 

The new SFPUC project is essentially a redundancy system and new force main for the Westside Pumpstation.  While the project will improve water quality by decreasing sewer overflow events, a significant part of the new development will be located in the erosion hazard area we are trying to restore. 

To protect this new structure, the City is de facto going to rely on the buried seawall fronting the Lake Merced Tunnel. 

See link below for project details.  Clck for Thursday's Agenda item 10A.  There you will find a link to submit public comments which are due by 5pm today!  

Application No. 2-17-0184 (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco)Application by San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to add redundancy wastewater infrastructure associated with existing Westside Pump Station at 2900 Great Hwy in Ocean Beach area on west side of San Francisco, San Francisco County.

Please send in a comment asking for the denial of CDP 2-17-0184.  Even a simple statement like the following would be great help: 


My name is _____. I surf/visit/hike/fish (whatever you do) Ocean Beach. I am writing today to ask that  CDP 2-17-0184 be denied because this development could be configured landward. Allowing this permit to be approved in the current design undermines the efforts of all stakeholders to restore this shoreline thru long-term managed retreat planning. At the minimum, the project should be placed on hold until an LCP update and long-term management plan is approved by the Coastal Commission. Thank you. 


(your name)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

LMT To Be Protected by Taraval Style Seawall

By rejecting managed retreat for the LMT, SFPUC is opting for a riskier path,
one fraught with high maintenance, to address Sloat erosion.

Greetings Surfriders,

We had a very informative chapter meeting last month. Thanks to all who attended. Ben Grant provided a nice summary of the Ocean Beach Master Plan while Bob Battalio brought us up to speed on the alternatives analysis study for the Lake Merced Tunnel (LMT).

It looks like SFPUC is going to go thru with building the Ocean Beach Master Plan’s buried seawall for the Tunnel. Engineer Bob Battalio explained that the models support the ability to protect the LMT with the low profile seawall thru 2100. However, the amount of sand dune replenishment needed to maintain the beach looks to be significantly high, especially after 2050. The Alternatives Analysis report is not finalized for publication yet, but when it is we will post a copy so you can check over the details.

While we are glad to see the City moving on a plan to clean up and restore the beach, we still contend that it is worth the investment to remove the LMT from the erosion hazard area now, and not sometime after 2050 when the cost will be much greater.

As surfers we know all too well the character of the nearshore environment at Ocean Beach. If anything, it is wildly unpredictable, subject to extreme energy, and thoroughly unforgiving. Leaving the LMT so close to the surf zone is a risky choice.  We can only hope the design works as well as the models say it will and preserves the beach.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Alternatives Analysis Phase Complete

Public access and wildlife habitat stand to gain from a restored beach at Sloat.

Greetings Surfriders,
During the holidays we had received word that the Alternative Analysis Report for the Lake Merced Tunnel is complete. After weighing a relocation alternative for the 14 Foot Diameter pipe, SFPUC management has apparently decided to keep the structure where it is - and to build the Ocean Beach Master Plan protection device. This would be a “Taraval” style seawall.

At our chapter meeting on February 6th (Sports Basement 1590 Bryant Street 7pm), we will hear from ESA engineer Bob Battalio who worked on the AAR.  Also, in attendance will be Benjamin Grant, SPUR Ocean Beach Master Plan Project Manager. We encourage all members, activists and supports to attend this meeting and ask questions about the results of the report.  Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The 2017 Campaign In Review

Excellent surf has graced the Sloat shoreline this month.
Dear Surfriders,

In 2017 our Chapter activists and supporters put in a lot time attending meetings, signing petitions and providing comment letters in support of the Local Coastal Plan Amendment (LCP).  The LCP essentially greenlights Sloat restoration and promotes future managed retreat planning for the rest of the Ocean Beach shoreline. We wish to commend everyone that helped with the campaign thus far.

What's next on the roadmap to Restore Sloat?

  • 2018 Near-Term Improvements.  

New temporary parking arrangements for beach access south of Sloat are due to begin construction this year.  A walking/jogging path will be included in the project.

  • Alternatives Analysis Report (AAR)

The AAR is for the long-term restoration / protection project that was outlined in the Ocean Beach Master Plan. The AAR will include a relocation option weighed for the Lake Merced Tunnel.  Surfrider has advocated that the City look into this option as it may bring the most long-term benefits in term of infrastructure security, beach restoration and cost effectiveness.

  • The Conceptual Engineering Report (CER) Phase

Following on the heals of the AAR, a preferred project will be selected. The CER will be the initial engineering specs. for the long-term plan.

  • 2019 Environmental Review: 

By 2019, a period of Environmental Review / CEQA (CA Environmental Quality Act)  determination will begin for the long-term project.

  • 2020 Coastal Commission Permitting

The final stop before construction of the long-term plan will include a Coastal Commission permit application which is due to be heard by 2020.  If all goes well, we can see the a Sloat restoration project break ground in 2021.

That's it. As always, thanks for checking in.

Happy Holidays!

Please consider joining the Surfrider Foundation today and help us reach our goal of raising $500,000 by December 31st!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sharp Park Seawall Permit Approved

The beautiful beach fronting Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica

In a major set-back for beach preservation in Pacifica, the Coastal Commission approved an "after the fact' permit for the seawall that protects the Sharp Park Golf Course.

On Wednesday November 8,  Commissioners officially legalized the 2013 seawall enhancements despite years of missed deadlines and incomplete documentation by SF Rec. and Park. An article in the Courthouse News Report covers the hearing well.

Judging from the Commissioner's comments, the key reason the seawall and the recent armoring work was approved was the belief that, without the seawall, the local neighborhood would flood.  Unfortunately,  there is no study or other substantial evidence to support this claim found in the staff report or anywhere else that we can find.

As we have commented before, the reason managed retreat uses the word "managed" is to allow for project adaptations such as flood protection for nearby neighborhoods - or habitat relocation work for endangered species. At Sloat, managed retreat means that we recognize that some form of structural protection will be needed to protect the Oceanside Treatment Plant and associated infrastructure. Contrary to the view of some of our detractors, we are not environmental extremists.

For a look at what a quality managed retreat alternative could be, check out this peered reviewed study of Sharp Park.

While we are disappointed with the Coastal Commissions ruling on this issue, there will be a time to revisit the Sharp Park Golf Course seawall permit in the future.  Rest assured, Surfrider will continue to fight for this coastal treasure at every pass.