|Winter 2015, looking south from the 2nd Parking Lot (photo B. McLaughlin)|
Greetings Surfriders and Friends,
At a recent chapter meeting, someone unfamiliar with our efforts asked what we have accomplished so far in the campaign. It was a great question. The following is part one of a two part detailed report:
Surfrider first got involved in the fight to restore Sloat during the mid-1990's. However, the latest chapter of the campaign began five years ago.
During the 2010 El Niño, a piece of the Great Highway fell into the surf. SFDPW declared an emergency which led to the construction of a massive rock revetment on the beach. A year later, the same agency applied for a permit to build a seawall and revetment for the entire Sloat shoreline. The project would have covered up what remains of the beach. We stopped this misguided plan at the July 2011 Coastal Commission meeting. Then, through participation in the SPUR led Ocean Beach Master Plan, Surfrider helped forge an alternative vision for Sloat erosion.
Released in 2012, the Ocean Beach Master Plan (OBMP) charts a path to restore the beach at Sloat while adressing the City's need to protect its wastewater infrastructure. The cornerstone of the plan is the use of managed retreat or inland relocation for threatened development. In the south Sloat area, both the road and the parking lots will be moved away from the water. Rock and rubble can then be cleared off of the beach. The added space will allow for sand dunes to grace the restored shoreline. To protect the remaining wastewater infrastructure (especially the Lake Merced Tunnel), a low profile seawall is proposed. Because the crown of the wall will sit near sea level, sand and wave run-up should pass over the structure. Only during major erosion events does the seawall emerge from the beach.
The City has been very supportive of the Master Plan vision. SFPUC has funded the low pact seawall study. SFMTA is busy preparing to pull the road away from the water. The SF Planning Department is working with the Coastal Commission to certify the Sloat work into our local coastal planning document. Public meetings on these issues will be announced by the end of the year.
Estimated Timeline: The project for Sloat is expected to begin the permitting process by the end of 2016 with construction completed sometime near 2021.
Surfrider supports the Master Plan work thus far. We commend the City for working towards a more environmental and sustainable plan for Sloat erosion. However, we are not as enthusiastic about the seawall to protect the Lake Merced Tunnel. We do believe a relocation option for the tunnel should be formally weighed.
In Summary, the City's acceptance of the Master Plan is the chief accomplishment of our campaign. Next month, we will examine some of the near term improvements we have secured, as well as other outstanding issues.
Thanks for checking in!