Thursday, December 18, 2014

New: Computer Graphic Showing Long Term Plan / Sand Management Details

Greetings Surfriders and Friends,

An excellent new video has been released from SPUR illustrating the long term project as outlined in the Ocean Beach Master Plan.  The simple graphic sequence shows the typical or present day condition at Sloat.Then, it follows the different steps of implementation (including the sand management work). Please note the protection device for the Lake Merced Tunnel (LMT).  It is designed to allow natural processes - such as erosion and accretion - to take place. If built, it would function similar to the one at Taraval Street, which remains buried most of the time.

There is no doubt that this plan is more environmentally sound than a conventional seawall and rock revetment. However, Surfrider urges the Master Plan team to consider relocating the LMT altogether. With the threat of sea level rise and climate change driven storms, it may be more cost effective and beneficial to the public to move this piece of infrastructure inland. The option should at least be formally studied.

Finally, if you are curious about the details of the current sand management project, here is the technical data sheet.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sand Project Has Begun for South Parking Lot

The sand management project has begun. Photo: B. McLaughlin 12/1/14


The San Francisco Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is pleased to announce that the long awaited project to bring sand to Sloat’s southern parking lot has begun.

The National Park Service (NPS), in cooperation with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), is presently conducting a sand management project at Ocean Beach. Like the 2012 effort, excess sand in front of the O'Shaughnessy Seawall at North Ocean Beach is being excavated and then transported to the beach at the erosion hotspot south of Sloat Boulevard.  In contrast to 2012, the sand this time will be brought to the southern parking lot. 

The Surfrider Foundation would like to emphasize that the current project is not the long term, sustainable fix for Sloat area erosion.  That plan is currently under design by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research  (SPUR)’s Ocean Beach Master Plan. However, the action will bring important benefits.  Chiefly, the sand will create safe access to the beach for the southern parking lot.  Presently, the only way to get to the beach at the south lot is to scale down an eroding mixture of rock and concrete debris.

In 2012, according to the National Park Service website, approximately 73 thousand cubic yards of sand was relocated. The current project is slated to transfer approximately 30 thousand cubic yards of sand. The south bound lanes are to be closed Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The project is scheduled to be completed within five weeks. The cost of the project is $500,000 according to SFPUC.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ca Coastal Commission and San Francisco's Local Coastal Program

A smooth gray line peels off at Sloat's south lot. (photo B. McLaughlin)

Greetings Surfriders and Friends,

Unfortunately, the new sand back-passing project for Sloat continues to be delayed. Over the last month, we have made phone calls to our contact at the PUC. Apparently there was a permit issue that is responsible. The good news is that the equipment is in place at Sloat south lot and ready to go. We will update with photos when the project is complete.

In other news, the chapter attended the California Coastal Commission meeting in Half Moon Bay on Wednesday November 12. At the hearing, Surfrider registered support for San Francisco's grant application to update their coastal planning document (also known as the Local Coastal Program or LCP). With an updated LCP, the restoration work for Sloat can move forward in a more efficient manner. Without a current LCP, individual permits for each piece of the restoration might have been needed from the commission.  Securing just one permit can be very time consuming. A revised LCP will help expedite the restoration process as well as ensure the final Sloat design is compliant with the threat of sea level rise and climate change driven storms. We believe these latter two elements will help promote the managed retreat strategy we have long been seeking. Thanks for checking in!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October offshores grace the 2nd parking lot. (photo: B. McLaughlin)

Greetings Surfriders and Friends,

By all accounts, the two public meetings went well, though attendance was light.

The good news on the sand project is that the second parking lot will indeed be the focus of the new replenishment work.  Also, because of our advocacy efforts, general improvements for the parking lots are now high up on the list of near term priorities.

If you would like to submit your own comments on these and other issues, please do! The deadlne is October 15.  Below is a pasted email from SPUR with all the information.  Thanks!


Thanks to all of you who stopped by our open space design workshop at the United Irish Cultural Center this week (9/24)! For those who didn’t make it or who want to refresh your memory, you can view the presentation boards via the link to the blog post below. These boards present information on proposed open space designs at both the North Reach, across from Golden Gate Park between Lincoln Way and Balboa Street, and the South Reach, along the Great Highway from Sloat to Skyline Blvd. Please take a look at the boards and download the attached feedback form to submit your comments to us by October 15, 2014:
via email at, or
via mail: Ben Grant, SPUR, 654 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105.

​​Your feedback will be incorporated and presented an evening forum at SPUR (654 Mission) on October 27. Once again thank you all for your interest and participation!

Best regards,

Ben Grant and Shannon Fiala

Give Us Feedback on Open Space Design for Ocean Beach!

Thanks to all of you who stopped by our open space design workshop at the United Irish Cultural Center last night (9/24)! Please take a look at the boards posted (and attached) below and submit your feedback to us by October 15, 2014.


Open Space Design at Ocean Beach

San Francisco

6:00 p.m. | Monday, October 27, 2014

Read full event details >>

Submit Comment on the Ocean Beach Sand Management Project

The Ocean Beach Sand Management Project will gather excess sand built up along the O’Shaughnessy Seawall and place this sand in the erosion hotspot south of Sloat Boulevard. To address the issues of excess sand and sand deficit at opposite ends of Ocean Beach, the National Park Service (NPS) in cooperation with the City’s two departments, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and Department of Public Works (DPW) propose to transport approximately 30,000 cubic yards (cy) of sand from the overwidened backbeach area in front of the O’Shaughnessy Seawall to the erosion hot spot south of Sloat Boulevard to provide temporary shoreline stabilization and protection for the Lake Merced Transport Tunnel, which connects to a large wastewater treatment facility, as well as the Great Highway. Submit comment here by September 26, 2014.


Ideas and action for a better city

654 Mission St.

San Francisco, CA 94105


76 South First Street

San Jose, CA 95113


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

More Sand For Sloat... 2 Public Meetings This Month!

North lot area 2013. Let's bring sand access to the southern parking lot.  

Dear Surfriders and Friends,

We have some new developments to report this month.  First, there is another round of sand replenishment for Sloat coming in October. Sand will be excavated from the area in front of the seawall at north Ocean Beach. Then, it will be trucked down to the Sloat erosion hotspot. This will involve the same process that we saw in the summer of 2012.  Once again, Surfrider would like to emphasize that this is not to be confused with the long term solution for Sloat being developed thru the SPUR Ocean Beach Master Plan.  However, since the Master Plan fix for Sloat will take years to implement; this project is welcome.  If placed in the right location - such as the southern parking lot area -  the sand can restore safe access to the water where we desperately need one.

Therefore, we are urging public support for the National Park Service and the City on this project. Please join us in requesting that the sand be used to create safe access at the southern parking lot.

For more information about the project, please visit the NPS website:  

Please note: Comments are due by Sept. 26!

Also: Two public forums are scheduled for the second half of this month:

First up is the Ocean Beach Town Hall meeting. This will cover a general update on several Ocean Beach related efforts (not just SPUR's Master Plan work).

Inline image 1

September 17 | Wednesday | 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Ocean Beach: Updates on Ocean Beach Master Plan, Sand Management and Seawall Repairs
Join Supervisors Katy Tang and Eric Mar (District 1) to discuss updates about the Ocean Beach Master Plan, hear from representatives of  SF Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) on sand management plans for this upcoming winter, SPUR about Ocean Beach planning, and the National Park Service (NPS) staff discuss repairs to the O’Shaughnessy Seawall and other issues.
Park Chalet Restaurant | 1000 Great Highway and John F. Kennedy Drive
For more information, contact

Coming soon: Ocean Beach Open Space Design Workshop 9/24. more at

Thanks always for checking in!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Great Highway Parking Lot Shelved

Fishing for Bass at South Sloat, Summer 2014

Greetings Surfriders and Friends,

Since our last post, it appears that the SPUR team has decided to shelve the idea of putting the north parking access on the Great Highway near Vicente.  This is great news.  Hopefully, the idea of narrowing the Great Highway between Lincoln and Sloat will also be removed from the current list of proposals. Surfrider has always maintained that - in this initial Master Plan - only the south of Sloat portion of the Great Highway should be narrowed down into two lanes and realigned eastward.

The Master Plan contains numerous proposals for change at Ocean Beach.  Many of them are great such as: a new restroom/shower for the Kelly's Cove area, a coastal trail connecting to Ft. Funston, and native plant restoration in the dunes. That being said, Surfrider does urge SPUR to keep the bulk of its focus on solving the erosion challenge south of Sloat. This important stretch of Ocean Beach has been severely neglected over the last 20 years. It will take significant time and resources to reverse all the damage. The OBMP provides us with a vehicle to accomplish the task. Thanks for checking in.

Stay tuned for more news in the coming months!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ocean Beach Master Plan Workshop 5-10-14

Greetings Surfriders,

First off, we want to thank everyone that signed our petition in recent months and/or attended meetings on this issue. Your engagement is extremely important. Mahalo!

Last month's Ocean Beach Master Plan Workshop included new information related to studies on coastal management, transportation and open space. There was a lot to absorb, and potentially a ton of new items to comment on. Since our campaign is focused on the restoration efforts at Sloat, we will restrict comments to that topic.

Re: Sand Replenishment

We applaud the commitment to use of sand and/or sand bags as the primary erosion tools until the long term plan is built. This is particularly important since it appears that another El Niño event is developing. Surfrider would like to emphasize that an official sand access trail should be maintained for the southern parking lot. Additionally, we still need a method to keep sand from blowing into the north lot; which is still getting clogged up after stretches of northwest wind events.

Rubble Reconfiguration:

We fully support the effort to clear any of the rubble from the shoreline. Surfrider urges this project to also proceed as soon as possible.  The rock littering the beach is a safety hazard. That being said, disposal of the material should be prioritized over replacing it back on to the bluff.

Lake Merced Tunnel Modeling:

It is great news that the Master Plan's concept to protect the Lake Merced Tunnel looks to be viable. Even better is the news that the tunnel appears to be more sturdy than previously thought. This may allow for more immediate bluff restoration.  However, Surfrider would like to emphasize that the cost and benefits of armoring this structure should be weighed against a plan for its relocation.

When the Master Plan for Sloat is complete, a lot of time and money will have been spent trying to bring safety to the Lake Merced Tunnel - as well as the restoration of the beach. Sea level rise is coming. It only makes sense to build a project that maximizes the longevity of both management goals. Relocating the tunnel away from the water could be the best option.  At a minimum, the LMT relocation alternative should be formally studied.

Open Space and Transportation Studies:

The open house revealed more details on plans for dune restoration with native plants, amenities for bikes, walking and jogging paths, etc. These are all great measures we fully support. There is one serious item, though, on which we need to register dissent: a proposal for new coastal access parking on the southbound Great Highway near Wawona. This proposed location would have parking at Sloat moved north of its current location, landing on the westernmost lanes of the road.  Such a move conflicts with the goals of managed retreat. Instead, Surfrider urges SPUR to consider a plan for the gradual realignment of the north parking lot inland, directly to the east.  The long term result could have it eventually occupy the area in front of the Westside Pump Station.

Overall, on balance, SPUR and the Master Plan team of public agencies are doing great work towards solving the erosion mess at Sloat. We urge the community and the SPUR team to remain engaged through ongoing communication efforts.  There are a lot of big moves with critical details in this plan. With informed, open minded thinking, we are confident that the Master Plan project for Sloat will eventually be a great one.

Thanks for checking in. Stay tuned for more opportunities to participate in the planning process!

Bill McLaughlin