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, July 23, 2012

Major Sand Replenishment Project Coming to the Sloat Area

The Workings of a Dynamic Beach…

A dynamic beach is always in flux.  Sand erodes and accretes (builds up) on a continual basis.  Here is an example: The photo at the top is of Ortega Street from June 2011- midway through incoming tide. The photo on the bottom is the same exact spot, at approximately the same tide, but one year later...When it comes to erosion threats to the Great Highway, Sloat is unique. Accretion processes have failed to regenerate the beach.

Dear Surfriders and Friends,

At the sand management meeting the other night, we got a look at the details of the new sand replenishment project being coordinated by NPS, SFPUC and SFDPW. It is scheduled to start in August; and will deliver significant quantities of sand to the south of Sloat area. The material will be excavated from the beach in front of the O'Shaughnessy seawall (Stairwells 1-21). The measure should help to alleviate the problem of sand accumulation on the road and parking lots at the north end of Ocean Beach. The preliminary cost estimate approximately $700,000. See NPS website for more info. There will be short term closures of some of the parking areas to make this happen. The south bound lanes of the Great Highway will also need to be closed during construction. The project is due to be completed by early September.

The end result will be two separate large sand dunes on the beach, one covering the area just south of 1st parking lot and the other at the south end of 2nd lot. The dunes will be approximately 30-40 in width, effectively burying any rock or rubble in the area where they are placed.

Surfrider generally supports this measure as a temporary measure to improve access to the beach. However, it should be emphasized that this is not the sustainable long term solution forged by the Ocean Beach Master Plan. Most of this sand is projected to wash away at some point. That being said, the project will improve access, aesthetics, and should help to some degree in avoiding new erosion emergencies that bring rock armor onto the beach.

Our chapter continues to call for the removal of rubble and concrete debris already littering the beach. Previous posts have illustrated the point that much of this debris has drifted away from the bluff and is poised to enter the surf zone.  We hope to see some kind of work on this issue before the sand is placed. By removing; or at least re-aligning the debris back onto the bluff, more beach area will be available when the sand erodes. This would help delay wave contact with the rock, thus forestalling the erosive effects of wave scour and backwash.

Thanks for checking in. Please do stay tuned for further developments and information!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Important Sand Management Meetings Continue...

Rubble at the Erosion Hotspot: 
Please support clean-up of this junk at Tuesday night's meeting!

Dear Surfriders and Friends,

The GGNRA, PUC, and DPW are having a public meeting to discuss the new sand management policy that will result in sand being trucked from the north end of the beach down to the erosion area south of Sloat. Surfrider has been advocating rubble clean-up and maintenance to accompany the sand drop...
Email from GGNRA below...

Public Meeting

The public is invited to meet with project staff and learn about the upcoming Ocean Beach Sand Management project.

Tuesday, July 17 6:00 - 7:30 pm
United Irish Cultural Center Board Room, Third Floor
2700 45th Avenue (at Sloat)
San Francisco, CA 94116
(Parking is available on site)

Project Background: The National Park Service, in cooperation with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and San Francisco Department of Public Works, will soon begin the Ocean Beach Sand Management project, which will gather excess sand built up in front of the O'Shaughnessy Seawall and place it in the erosion hotspot south of Sloat Boulevard. Shoreline changes along Ocean Beach are dramatic and are a result of natural and human-caused factors.

In general, the beach at the northern end of Ocean Beach has been widening and accumulating sand while the beach south of Sloat Boulevard has experienced a loss of beach and is eroding. Excessive sand at the northern end of Ocean Beach this season has resulted in sand covering the O'Shaughnessy Seawall and accumulating in the parking lot and the Great Highway. This has buried stairways and impeded access along the esplanade. Currently, the sand is in excess of 13 feet deep at the face of the seawall, and is at historic levels of accumulation.

Project Details

The proposed project involves excavation of approximately 100-150 thousand cubic yards of sand from in front of the O'Shaughnessy Seawall from Stairwell 1 to 21, and transporting sand with dump trucks along the Great Highway to the erosion hotspot south of Sloat Boulevard. The sand placed south of Sloat Boulevard will be monitored to understand how long the sand will remain in place, how well it functions as bluff protection, and where it moves in the near shore environment. Project staging will require short-term closures of some parking areas including the parking area at Stairwell 28 and the parking lot located at Sloat Boulevard. The south bound lanes of the Great Highway will be closed during construction hours - Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM. No night or weekend work will occur. The project is estimated to be completed within five weeks from the start of the project.

Project Objectives

Remove sand from in front of the O'Shaughnessy Seawall in order to reduce future sand maintenance efforts;

Maintain public access on promenade and stairwells that have been blocked by sand build-up;·        

Enhance beach access in the erosion hotspot area south of Sloat Boulevard;·        

Provide for bluff protection in high risk areas that threaten CCSF infrastructure;·        

Reduce the need to implement more engineered bluff protection measures in the short-term.  For more info about the meeting contact:

Jean Marie Walsh
Communications Manager
1155 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Office: (415) 554-3203 Cell: (415) 606-6055

In other news...

The other night was the public meeting for the Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plan.  Some folks may be wondering if there are duplicate efforts afoot to solve the erosion issue at Sloat.  The Ocean Beach Master Plan is an overall guidance or vision document for improvements to the entire Ocean Beach shoreline area including Sloat . The sand management meeting above is about a new specific DPW program to  use sand at north Ocean Beach for the Sloat hotspot. The CRSMP considers all erosion hotspots in our region, and the role of sand management.

 The CRSMP region spans the entire stretch of coast from the Golden Gate to Pedro Point. The reason behind having a larger scale management plan for sediment management is due to the interconnectedness of sand transport systems along our coastline.  Sand from the San Francisco bay system does generally migrate southbound along our coastline.  Due to human development (daming of our rivers, infilling of our bay, armoring of our coastlines, etc), there is less sand reaching our beaches.  Less sand in the system means more beach erosion.  The CRSMP is about gathering the best science available on our sediment  systems and identifying viable solutions for beach erosion. Ultimately, coastal governments will have to choose which methods they will implement in response to erosion.  With the CRMSP, a much more informed choice is likely to occur.  Surfrider supports the use of sand as beach replenishment as a short term or interim step to maintain a beach.  In most cases, managed retreat is our preferred solution to erosion conflicts along our coastline.

Thurs. night's meeting was excellent, although unfortunately attendance was sparse. The good news is that everyone is welcome to review the material online and still sumbit public comment.  Here's the info: .. and do stay tuned. There will be more public meetings on tap.  For Pacifica and Daly City residents, the CRSMP meeting is still scheduled for this Thursday 7-9pm Pacifica City Council Chambers 2212 Beach Blvd. in Pacifica.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

OBMP Final Released / CRSMP Workshops Upcoming

Sand Ladder Access at the Sloat Muni Turnaround

Dear Surfriders and Friends,

The Ocean Beach Master Plan final is officially now released and ready for download.  A press conference will be scheduled shortly.

Again, the next step in getting a long term plan for the South Sloat area will involve a feasibility study of the SPUR recommendation.  Surfrider, Save the Waves and others will advocate for a thorough analysis of viable options, including the re-route or relocation of the Lake Merced Tunnel (the piece of infrastructure at the heart of the armoring policy at Sloat).  Please continue to voice your support for a truly sustainable solution that will restore our beach!  You can help by writing letters to media outlets, political leaders, agency leaders as well as just spreading news and updates throughout the general community.

One noteworthy development is the announcement of a series of workshops involving erosion and sand management for the entire Bay Area coast.  The Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plan (CSRMP) is seeking public input on how to use sediment or sand to address erosion hotspots from San Francisco down to Pacifica.  As you may know, sand re-use will be a key component in restoring the South Sloat stretch of the beach.  We also see it as a preferable interim measure while a Managed Retreat plan can be developed.  There are similar armoring and beach loss issues just to our south in which sediment management will play a key role.  Please try to attend these meetings and stand up for long term, sustainable beach preservation strategies.  Surfrider believes there are many opportunities to use Managed Retreat along the coverage area of the CRSMP.


Public Input Needed for Coastal Erosion Plan, San Francisco to Pacifica

Developing a Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plan (CRSMP)

The Association of Bay Area Governments and the Coastal Sediment Management Workgroup invite the public to provide input on a Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plan being developed for Fort Point, San Francisco, to Point San Pedro, Pacifica, at two identical meetings to be held in July, 2012. “Regional sediment management” refers to sand.

These meetings will:

Describe erosion issues affecting ocean beaches and coastal infrastructure, such as parking lots, highways, structures, storm drains, and sewage outfalls·       

Present implementation options (proposed solutions such as beach nourishment, multi-purpose reefs, armor, allowed erosion, and managed retreat) and concepts for a regional plan and solicit public comments on plan concepts.  See website for more info:

SF Region:

Thursday, July 12, 6:00-8:30pm

SPUR 2nd Floor Public Assembly Hall
654 Mission Street, San Francisco
Exhibition opens at 6:00, meeting begins at 6:30
Daly City/Pacifica Region:
Thursday July 19 7-9pm
City Council Chambers 2212 Beach Blvd.  Pacifica, Ca
Additional public meetings will be held in the fall to gather public input on the completed draft Plan.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Thank you,

Athena Honore
San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)
1515 Clay St, Suite 1400
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone 510-622-2325  Fax 510-622-2501

Learn about solutions to Bay issues: