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

The shorelines of Ocean Beach south of Sloat Blvd and Sharp Park in Pacifica are threatened by rip-rap seawallls and long-term erosion. This blog chronicles our campaign efforts to restore these beaches. Check out the web view of this site to see our proposed solutions and how to help- in the right hand column below. For all the latest about our efforts, see our monthly posts.

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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ocean Beach Vision Council Meeting of May 6th Recap

The Ocean Beach Vision Council (OBVC) had a public meeting last week at the Janet Pomery Center behind the West Side wastewater plant. The approximately 30 attendees were about half public stakeholders, about half private citizens.

The Ocean Beach Vision Council was formed by Mayor Gavin Newsom consisting of many of the members of the previous Ocean Beach Task Force. Up to this point, the 10-member council has lacked funding, but a recent $300,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy combined with potential grants of $100,000 from the SF PUC and $10,000 from the National Park Service should help provide some much needed funding to kick start the efforts. The goal of the Vision Council is to develop long term plans for the Ocean Beach area, whether it be analogous to Crissy Field, or something new entirely.

Lara Truppelli of the Beach Chalet (and member of Ocean Beach Task Force, and now Ocean Beach Vision Council) moderated. Astrid Haryati, the Greening Director for the City of San Francisco, as well as District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkirimi provided some opening comments and well wishes for the Vision Council.

Gabe Metcalf, Ocean Beach Vision Council member and director of SPUR, gave some of the history of the Ocean Beach Task Force and the Ocean Beach Vision Council. He spoke that the new funding should provide for some pilot projects. He noted that sea level rise is one of the factors in the future of Ocean Beach. The OBVC does not yet have the Photoshopped rendering of their ideal vision; their plans are still very much in development.

Ed Reiskin, Director of the San Francisco Department of Public works (DPW), presented on the ongoing work south of Sloat. Phase I, toe stabilization, is largely completed. Phase II consists of stabilizing upper face of the bluff. DPW is analyzing alternatives to accomplish bluff stabilization, although a decsion is to be made within the next week. The front runner is the construction of a "sand nail" wall. This would consist of a row of steel pilings (scope to be determined) driven down into the bluff so as to sit in front of the burried Wastewater Tunnel for protection. The other determination still undecided was the road configuration. Previously, there were two lanes of traffic in each direction with a wide median that could be made into an emergency lane. The plan on page 6 of Ed's PowerPoint seems to show 2 southbound lanes, though during Q&A he indicated that pending approval from SFMTA, the DPW was leaning toward restoring one lane in each direction with the addition of a bicycle path. Ed also noted the scope of Phase II may be extended beyond the current revetment: south of the revetment and at the exit of the northern lot. Funding is coming from both State and Federal sources. Few details were presented on Phases III and IV; these are outside the Emergency Permit and fall more into the long term plan.

Since it is under an Emergency Declaration, the DPW could theoretically proceed without the mitigation on Phase I or the blessing of the SF MTA on Phase III. To the DPW's credit, it appears they are trying to work with the stake holders. Amongst the most inflexible stake holders are the Bank Swallow birds, whose seasonal colony in the Fort Funston area dictates aspects of the construction schedule (they are a CA state listed threatened species). Ed mentioned that while the DPW had initially intended to remove 2,000 tons of rubble during Phase I as remdiation, but DPW stopped at half that number in part to limit the schedule to avoid conflict with the Swallows.

In our opinion, rethinking the number of lanes of traffic is a big step forward. The amount of bluff required to support four lanes of traffic is quite larger than what is required to support two lanes. Two lanes could be placed over the stiffer, consolidated, semi-lithofied soils without nearly as much structure necessary to support fill.

Look for an update soon when construction details are finalized and/or stakeholder meeting dates are announced. Also, please continue to spread the news about this evolving issue. Thanks!