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.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The 2017 Campaign In Review

Excellent surf has graced the Sloat shoreline this month.
Dear Surfriders,

In 2017 our Chapter activists and supporters put in a lot time attending meetings, signing petitions and providing comment letters in support of the Local Coastal Plan Amendment (LCP).  The LCP essentially greenlights Sloat restoration and promotes future managed retreat planning for the rest of the Ocean Beach shoreline. We wish to commend everyone that helped with the campaign thus far.

What's next on the roadmap to Restore Sloat?

  • 2018 Near-Term Improvements.  

New temporary parking arrangements for beach access south of Sloat are due to begin construction this year.  A walking/jogging path will be included in the project.

  • Alternatives Analysis Report (AAR)

The AAR is for the long-term restoration / protection project that was outlined in the Ocean Beach Master Plan. The AAR will include a relocation option weighed for the Lake Merced Tunnel.  Surfrider has advocated that the City look into this option as it may bring the most long-term benefits in term of infrastructure security, beach restoration and cost effectiveness.

  • The Conceptual Engineering Report (CER) Phase

Following on the heals of the AAR, a preferred project will be selected. The CER will be the initial engineering specs. for the long-term plan.

  • 2019 Environmental Review: 

By 2019, a period of Environmental Review / CEQA (CA Environmental Quality Act)  determination will begin for the long-term project.

  • 2020 Coastal Commission Permitting

The final stop before construction of the long-term plan will include a Coastal Commission permit application which is due to be heard by 2020.  If all goes well, we can see the a Sloat restoration project break ground in 2021.

That's it. As always, thanks for checking in.

Happy Holidays!

Please consider joining the Surfrider Foundation today and help us reach our goal of raising $500,000 by December 31st!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sharp Park Seawall Permit Approved

The beautiful beach fronting Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica

In a major set-back for beach preservation in Pacifica, the Coastal Commission approved an "after the fact' permit for the seawall that protects the Sharp Park Golf Course.

On Wednesday November 8,  Commissioners officially legalized the 2013 seawall enhancements despite years of missed deadlines and incomplete documentation by SF Rec. and Park. An article in the Courthouse News Report covers the hearing well.

Judging from the Commissioner's comments, the key reason the seawall and the recent armoring work was approved was the belief that, without the seawall, the local neighborhood would flood.  Unfortunately,  there is no study or other substantial evidence to support this claim found in the staff report or anywhere else that we can find.

As we have commented before, the reason managed retreat uses the word "managed" is to allow for project adaptations such as flood protection for nearby neighborhoods - or habitat relocation work for endangered species. At Sloat, managed retreat means that we recognize that some form of structural protection will be needed to protect the Oceanside Treatment Plant and associated infrastructure. Contrary to the view of some of our detractors, we are not environmental extremists.

For a look at what a quality managed retreat alternative could be, check out this peered reviewed study of Sharp Park.

While we are disappointed with the Coastal Commissions ruling on this issue, there will be a time to revisit the Sharp Park Golf Course seawall permit in the future.  Rest assured, Surfrider will continue to fight for this coastal treasure at every pass.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Permit Sought to Legitimize Sharp Park Seawall

The future shoreline of Pacifica: A pile of rocks or a sandy beach?

Greetings Surfriders,

A Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the Sharp Park Golf Course seawall has been submitted by SF Rec and Park to the Coastal Commission. The application includes the 2013 unauthorized boulder additions we chronicled in this campaign blog.

Coastal armoring has already decimated large stretches of the beach in Pacifica. It's time to say enough is enough!

The  CDP is coming up for a vote at November’s Coastal Commission hearing which will be on Wednesday, November 8th at Bodega Marine Lab in Bodega Bay. It is the first item on the agenda for the meeting.

See link below for Coastal Commission hearing details:

To help derail this CDP, please send an email or printed letter to the Commission.  

Here is a simple comment letter to use as a template:

RE: Agenda Item 9A Application No. 2-17-0702 (San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, Pacifica)

I visit/surf/hike/fish our local Bay Area beaches, including the beaches of Pacifica. The Coastal Commission should deny this permit due to the extensive damage seawalls have already done to the town's shoreline.  Climate change and sea level rise will only intensify erosion rates in the years ahead.  If the Sharp Park Golf Course seawall is allowed to remain, the beach will eventually be driven under water. Instead of seeking permission to maintain a seawall, San Francisco should decommission the golf course and back a plan to restore beach and the lagoon wetland. Please reject this CDP.


(Your name)

Email to:

Printed mail needs to be received by Friday November 3rd. Send to:
California Coastal Commission 
North Central District 
45 Fremont Street Ste 2000 

Of course, if you can attend the hearing on Wednesday November 8th, please do!  To comment, arrive no later than 8am to fill out a speaker card. 

Thank you for fighting to preserve our local beaches!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

LCP Amendment Passes Unanimously

October means the surf season is back in full swing. Sloat north lot

Greetings Surfriders,

The Local Coastal Plan amendment passed through unanimously at the SF Planning Commission hearing on October 5th.  Thanks to all who sent in a comment letter in support of managed retreat for Sloat.  Here's an excerpt from our remarks:

The reason there is an erosion challenge at south Ocean Beach was because the original shoreline was filled in by more than 200 feet in this area. The erosion is due to the ocean's  attempt to regain it natural position...

In the big picture, the filling in of our City’s shorelines is now coming back to haunt us.  Along our bay waterfront and now at Ocean Beach, the payment is coming due.  The difference is that at Ocean Beach we have 30 foot waves barreling in from the North Pacific threatening our infrastructure.

The LCP amendment is important, because it meets this reality head on.  In essence, the City is moving toward a smarter policy of shoreline management by adding more distance between the water and threatened shoreline development. This is a move that also restores public access to the water and the beach's natural ecosystem.

To help advance the cause of Sloat restoration, please sign our petition.

Friday, September 15, 2017

SF Planning Set to Vote on New Erosion Policy for Ocean Beach

This summer, a beach has re-emerged at the erosion hotspot.
Unfortunately, it will almost certainly erode this coming winter.
Photo: Ocean Beach Surfer Paul Lewis 

Greetings Surfriders,

In order to build a project that addresses beach erosion at Sloat, zoning laws for the Ocean Beach shoreline need to be updated.  This is what the Local Coastal Plan (LCP) amendment process is about.  The LCP is now up for final approval.

As you may be aware of, Surfrider has been heavily engaged in the drafting of the LCP.  The zoning rules for erosion management will have a major impact on the preservation of the beach south of Sloat as well as greater Ocean Beach.

The Local Coastal Plan (LCP) hearing and vote is set for October 5th at SF Planning Department.  Please attend if you can; or send in a comment letter now.  Here is a basic message:

Climate change and sea level rise will only exacerbate erosion rates at Ocean Beach.  In order to preserve the shoreline south of Sloat and greater Ocean Beach, long-term planning based on managed retreat should be the preferred strategy.  Sand replenishment is a temporary solution to coastal erosion, not a permanent fix. 

For more information on the LCP amendment,  please visit:

To comment on the LCP,  please send an email letter to:

Maggie Wenger
LCP Amendment Project Manager
SF Planning Department
(415) 575-9126

PS: Pease sign and share our petition if you haven't yet!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

SF Zoo's Science / Interpretive Center

SF Zoo's Science Interpretive Center "pop-up"

Greetings Surfriders,

If you haven't signed our new petition yet, please do. Also, you can help the campaign by sharing this with your network.
By now you may have noticed a new structure built on top of the berm across from the north parking lot.  We placed some calls and found out the buildings are a temporary science/learning center for children's programs at the San Francisco Zoo.  

During the Ocean Beach Master Plan process, both the San Francisco Zoo and San Francisco Recreation and Park had representation on the Steering Committee (Executive Level).  These two agencies also were represented on the Planning Advisory Committee level (which comprised of community / non-profit representatives).  At no time did we hear of the Zoo's intention to run their own science interpretive center on that area of the berm.

The Ocean Beach Master Plan instead recommended the conversion of the Fleishhaker pool house into a free public warming hut / interpretive science center.  We fully supported this concept. However, the pool house burned down not long after the release of the OMBP. 

Surfrider still fully supports the Master Plan idea of a public warming hut / interpretive center in the area occupied by the pool house. The Zoo's private new structures conflict with this goal.

The good news is that there is time to fix this issue. The buildings appear to be pre-fab. and easily removed. 

We urge SF Zoo, Rec. and Park, SPUR and all other entities involved in the Ocean Beach Master Plan to come together, have an open discussion and let the public weigh in on this issue.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

North Parking Lot Replacement Needed

This location could make a fine location to place a new main parking lot for south Sloat.

Greetings Surfriders,

While we await a new date for the Local Coastal Program hearing at SF Planning, we would like to dedicate this month's post to the fate of the north parking lot at Sloat. 

As you may know, the 2012 Ocean Beach Master Plan proposed the idea of relocating the north parking lot spaces onto the southbound Great Highway near Wawona.  Surfrider opposed this idea since the point of the managed retreat plan was to relocate infrastructure away from the water. To their credit, the SPUR-led team cancelled this parking plan. 

The challenge is we still need a good parking alternative to replace the north lot. 

To address this, Surfrider has recently signaled interest in the area of land to the south of the zoo's paid parking lot. This is an area of land accessible by Herbst/Armory Road, and sits on the landward side of the Great Highway south of Sloat.  See picture above.

We believe this site could be ideal as a replacement for the north lot. Since the south of Sloat Great Highway will eventually be closed, vehicular access for the new parking lot can be done via Herbst - Armory Road. The new parking access could contain all the original parking spaces from the eroded north lot along with a bathroom, shower, water fountain, trash receptacle, and bicycle parking station.  It would serve as the main beach access lot and connect beautifully to the Master Plan's coastal hiking/biking trail idea.  Look for the chapter to advocate for this solution going forward.

Thanks for checking in!

PS: If you haven't signed our new petition yet, please do!  Also, you can help the campaign by sharing this with your network.

Friday, June 9, 2017

SF Examiner Covers Sloat / LCP Vote Postponed / SLR Workshop In Pacifica

Summertime means fishing in the fog at Sloat.
Greetings Surfriders,

The SF Planning Commission hearing was postponed.  Please stay tuned for the new date. 

On June 9th the San Francisco Examiner ran a nice story on the LCP and where we are in the effort to implement managed retreat at Sloat.   If you are looking to get a full picture of where the campaign is right now, this article provides an excellent snapshot.

Please sign and share our petition if you haven't yet!

Also, this coming Friday June 16th there is a sea level rise workshop being held in Pacifica.  USGS scientist Samuel Johnson and others will be on hand to go over the geology of our coastline, its history and what we can expect with a future of rising seas.  A discussion about our options for how we respond will also be open for discussion. 

Sea Level Rise: Understanding our Coast
Friday June 16 6:45pm at the Pacifica Coastside Museum – 1850 Francisco Blvd. Pacifica

Sponsored by Pacifica’s Environmental Family and the Pacifica Climate Committee

As always, thanks for checking in.