Sloat Restoration through Managed Retreat

Sloat Restoration through Managed Retreat
This is our original vision for Sloat Restoration - graphic courtesy of PSA and Associates and the Ocean Beach Task Force

Our Vision of Beach Restoration and Preservation

We advocate a managed retreat strategy to restore both Ocean Beach south of Sloat and Sharp Park. At Sloat, our vision involves:

A long-term plan to relocate threatened infrastructure
(including the south of Sloat Great Highway, the two oceanside parking lots and the sewer lines underneath them).

The cleanup of all the rock and rubble littering the beach.

The use of sand dunes as the primary tool to slow erosion.

For Sharp Park, we advocate the decommissioning of the golf course, the removal of the rip-rap berm, and a full restoration of the wetland.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Save the Waves Press Release.

Contact: Dean LaTourrette
Tel: 831-426-6169

"Save Sloat!" Campaign Wins Crucial Delay on Plan to Dump Rocks on Beach in San Francisco -

January 27, 2010, San Francisco, CA - 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 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.


  1. Thanks for all of these great updates & take the action info!

  2. Is there a good scientific write up on why short term solutions like placing boulders and longer term solutions like cliff armoring/hardening are not viable solutions? This is a serious request, and I'm asking as a concerned citizen who believes there is a balance between the environment and the populous who lives within it. I'm not looking for hyped rhetoric, but real facts and information about why these solutions are viewed as unsatisfactory or damaging to our coastline.

  3. Anonymous; your point is well taken. I was just discussing today with the blog's main author that we have not done a good job of explaining the options, and why rock walls are not necessarily the best choice. The challenge in engineering is not finding a solution that is "good" or "bad" in an absolute sense, but one that is best balances local conditions and policy objectives.

    In our defense, this came upon us suddenly, just after our first post on "jurisdiction", we have another educational post "wave energy" still in the bank, and had planned on doing a series on coastal management options. But it seems like events have unfolded quickly even for us.

    I suggest digging a bit into the storm report from 2005, I did a longer post on it below. If you really want some technical content, check out the Coastal Engineering Manual (, it is the bible for coastal engineers. We'll try to do a more targeted post in the next day or two that pulls from the CEM and other studies.

  4. Thanks Andrew,

    I did some reading at the sites mentioned and also ones mentioned in the recent post on why armoring is "bad."