Last night over 100 community members showed up to the Park Chalet to hear from the Department of Public Works and other experts about the coastal erosion issues and potential short-term and long-term solutions for the erosion at Sloat Blvd.
The meeting was introduced and run by Lara Trupelli, the owner of Park Chalet who also led the efforts of the 2000-2005 OB Taskforce and was appointed in 2007 by Mayor Gavin Newsom to be on the Ocean Beach Vision Council.
Frank Filice, the project manager from the Department of Public Works gave a short presentation on the proposed short-term solutions, which included three alternatives:
- Beach Nourishment - placing sand directly on the beach to restore the dunes (this alternatives was the most expensive but had the least environmental damage)
- Riprap Revetment - placing riprap (rocks) directly along the eroding shoreline to protect the road and sewer pipeline from the erosion (least expensive alternative with the most environmental damange). It was a little unclear how large of a structure they are proposing and how "temporary" the structure actually is.
- Sandbag Placement-placing large sand bags along the shoreline. This alternative was not described in details.
Bob Battalio, a big-wave surfer, an engineer and OB expert from Phil William and Associates (PWA) gave a presentation that described the efforts and recommendations of the 2000-2005 OB Taskforce. The OB Taskforce met from 2000-2005 as a result of a Board of Supervisor Resolution that was passed in 1999 in response to major erosion at Sloat (ummm....sound familiar?). The OB Taskforce determined that the best way to deal with the erosion was to set up a long-term plan with a focus on coastal retreat (moving the Great Highway more landward) and beach nourishment.
Dean LaTourette, the Executive Director of Save the Waves and Bill McLaughlin, an active member of the SF Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation spoke in support of the importance of a long-term plan that includes coastal retreat and beach nourishment. In addition, both environmental groups oppose the use of riprap (rock!!) to protect the road (not the beach) from erosion.
Peter Mull, the project manager for OB from the Army Corps of Engineers described the current efforts by the Army Corps of Engineers. Basically, sand that is dredged from the main ship channel annually has been placed in the waves at Sloat Blvd. The problem is that MORE sand needs to be placed and the sand should be placed directly on the beach. However, the dredging ship called the Essayons is not equipped to pump sand from the ship to the beach. At the moment, the Essayons can only dump sand in the waves.
Ross Mirkarimi and Carmen Chu, San Francisco Supervisors both spoke in support of a long-term solution and were generally against using hard structures.
The community was very engaged and, at times, confused and passionate about the issues and how to solve this coastal erosion problem. Questions generally focused on the long-term solutions - how can we get sand on the beach? Can we move the sewer pipeline? what will happen to traffic if the road is rerouted?
BUT as the meeting was coming to an end, the discussion was brought back to the short-term solutions. There was discussion on if the sand bag option could work - but it was clear this option has not been evaluated enough. Also, several folks were pushing to hold off the Board of Supervisor vote until next week so that more information on the alternatives could be explored.
At the moment, the Board of Supervisors are voting TODAY on a resolution that will officially declare the coastal erosion issues at Sloat an EMERGENCY - this will give the DPW the go-ahead to do what it takes to control the problem. It is important that the Board of Supervisors understands the importance of beach preservation in the decisions and remember that these SAME issues were brought up ten years ago. Past resolutions from 1999 did not allow hard structures (riprap/rock) to control erosion (even in an emergency) so why shouldn't we listen to what we said in the past!?
The Board of Supervisor meeting is at the Civic Center TODAY - be there at 2PM to comment on Item #53.
BOS Meeting - http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=2314