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.

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Document / Video Release

Sand recovered from clearing the Great Highway is being used once again to help shore up the south Sloat bluffs.

Dear Surfriders and Friends,

The Chapter Erosion Committee has just released a new document about the history of erosion at Ocean Beach. See

In many ways, the challenge we face at Sloat is nothing new. There is a long record of coastal erosion at Ocean Beach. With the wisdom gained from an historical perspective, we hope to chart a new course for erosion response by our city...

We are also pleased to announce the release of a new basic informational video about the Sloat issue. Check it out by clicking this link... Thanks to Josh Hayes of Visual Anarchy and Silvin Morgan for their help in producing this work.

In other news...

The final Ocean Beach Master plan is due to be released within the next few weeks. Please stay tuned! There is an excellent article on the OBMP in the current issue of the SPUR journal The Urbanist. See

In the meantime, at last Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Carmen Chu asked Mayor Lee if he would support the recommendations of the SPUR OBMP. The Mayor said he would not only help find the money to implement it, but would take steps to expedite the plan through the bureaucracy. This is important news as the situation at Sloat needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. The sooner we take action - hopefully with a managed retreat plan - the better. Coastal erosion keeps its own schedule.

One more development: The City has resumed the practice of using sand collected from clearing the Great Highway to fill erosion hotspots at south Sloat. Although this is a short-term, "Band-Aid" style measure, sacrificial beach sand has less of an environmental impact than sandbags, rock or rubble. Perhaps most importantly, it does not promote the spread of erosion - as is the case with the armored approach.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Wave of Media Attention on Sloat

Above: The inside sandbar at Sloat - under threat of backwash from an armored shoreline.

Dear Surfriders and Friends,

While we await the unveiling of the SPUR Ocean Beach Master Plan, there has been a groundswell of media attention on the Sloat issue. On Sunday March 23rd, the New York Times ran an article about Sloat on its front page. The next morning, the story was mentioned on NPR. On Tuesday March 25, KALW 91.7fm featured Sloat in the news program “Crosscurrents.” Today, the story made the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle. See links to these pieces on the right side of this page.

Overall, the coverage has been excellent. We are certainly happy to see the spotlight drawn to the issue. However, there is one important aspect to the Sloat story that seems to be consistently misrepresented. This has to do with the nature of the managed retreat approach and the fate of the Oceanside Treatment Plant. All too often the coverage paints a picture as if managed retreat implies the immediate and complete relocation of the entire sewer infrastructure - including the treatment plant. This is a most unfortunate characterization.

Our vision of managed retreat involves an immediate pull back of the southbound lane and Lake Merced Wastewater Tunnel only. By relocating these two items, clean up of the rock and rubble may commence. The treatment plant itself is apparently in no immediate danger. Presently it is protected by the 2010 revetment as well as a rather large coastal bluff. Ultimately, we advocate aggressive beach nourishment to address the issue of the plant. In fact, all the remaining infrastructure would be much better off if we were to enhance and restore the sand dune system in the area. With a sandy shoreline, normal beach regeneration processes can return, helping to slow down erosion.