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.

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