PPH Breakwater, Dredging and Beneficial Use at Surfers Beach: Requested Guidance Regarding Further Action
A local citizen has approached the Harbor District through Commissioner Campbell about restoring Surfers Beach with clean sand from PPH. Breakwater construction caused scouring that has resulted in severe beach erosion at this location. This problem is a long-standing District concern as well as for beach and harbor users, local property owners and other residents. Caltrans needed to place rip-rap along the Highway 1 embankment to prevent further degradation caused by the erosion. The citizen claims to represent a many community residents including surfers, fishermen, beach users, property owners, and business people.
The General Manager met with this citizen, Brian Overfelt, and a fellow surfer, on Jan. 25. The GM explained the history of District attempts to address the problem with the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Marine Sanctuary Program. The Sanctuary Program has up to this time opposed District requests for authorization to place clean, otherwise permit-approved harbor dredged material on Surfers Beach, clearly the most efficient, cost-effective beneficial reuse of this resource.
The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Management Plan, updated in 2006, for the first time acknowledges the possibility of enabling a new beach nourishment site at Pillar Point Harbor (HDD-5: Alternative Disposal Methods, p. 94). The inclusion of this item results from a concerted effort by the four harbors adjacent to the Monterey Bay Sanctuary to get it to recognize this issue; the District¹s General Manager was Harbors Representative on the Sanctuary Advisory Council during this period.
The GM provided an information packet on the issue to Mr. Overfelt. Mr. Overfelt plans to attend the Joint Monterey Bay/Gulf of the Farallones Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting on February 15 at Half Moon Bay and, with others, make a statement regarding the community¹s concern about the issue and asking for Sanctuary cooperation.
Next Steps: The Harbor Commission has identified several priorities on which the Commission directed the General Manager to concentrate this year. Now, with apparent broad-based community concern about this issue of restoration of Surfers Beach with suitable harbor dredged material, the District may have a new opportunity to solve the problem. The Harbor Commission should consider direction to the General Manager, within reasonable limits of time and effort, to work with the community and concerned agencies, together with the PPH Harbor Master, to try to resolve the issue.
Brian Overfelts Description of the Situation
The primary purpose if this is to begin dredging the collected sand out of the harbor to nourish the beaches to the south. As you can see the beaches have begun to radically erode down the coastline. Just today I was checking Roosevelt Beach and there was a five foot drop off to get to the beach. Before they can dredge they have to test the sand inside the harbor for toxicity and pollution. A June 2007 Environmental Impact Report (I have in my possession) showed the sand inside the harbor to be of no toxic significance. It will all be tested again as they begin to dredge. If its dirty we condition it or dispose of it and keep moving along cleaning the harbor and dredging over the wall (nourishing the beaches to the south). The sand going over the wall could/should give us a great sand point and will eventually create multiple peaks at the breakwater as it used to be in the 70’s and 80’s. Its a win win for all: clean harbor, beach nourishment for highway, for homeowners, business owners, more sand on beaches possible creating dunes and more gradual slope for beach goers etc. I think the best way to put it is a way to clean our harbor and nourish our beaches; side effect being possible great spit wave at breakwater and then more sand for potential bars throughout the bay. The harbor has to be dredged/cleaned sooner than later anyway. The sand is piling up in there at a ridiculous rate. That was what the harbor committee said to me last Wednesday and voted 100% in favor of this project. The told me they already have allocated funds for this and they themselves have already began working on this many years ago; they just didn’t have public support. There is an oceanographer that has photos showing the sand influx inside the harbor and beach erosion to the south over a 15 to 20 year period proving what I am saying. I have a fellow local surfer trying to acquire this documented study for the meeting next Friday. If the sanctuary gives us green light we will go talk to Brian Foss (in charge of dredge in Santa Cruz) to possibly rent his mobile dredge and hire his engineer to place it properly over the wall.