Thursday, January 28, 2010

One-Week Urgent Campaign by Environmentalists to Save Ocean Beach

A one-week urgent campaign against time and tide to save part of Ocean Beach has been launched by the Save the Waves Coalition and Surfrider Foundation. 

They are calling on people to write to the city's Board of Supervisors opposing plans to place a barrier of large rocks, known as 'armoring', on the beach, and to sign an online petition and attend next Tuesday's Board meeting when the issue will be reconsidered.

The race is against time because the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have given residents and environmentalists just one extra week to oppose Department of Public Works plans to use the rocks to prevent erosion. The armoring will cost $2.6 million.

And against tide, because recent winter storms have eaten away 30 ft of coastline and caused erosion of up to 70 ft since 2007, creating the emergency situation. The Great Highway running from Sloat Boulevard past the San Francisco Zoo has two southbound lanes closed, and a major 10-million gallon sewage pipe, the Lake Merced Wastewater Tunnel, is endangered as the erosion has gone under the road.

The Save the Waves Coalition, the San Francisco Chapter of  Surfrider Foundation, the Ocean Beach Vision Council and local residents presented their case  at a Board of Supervisors' meeting on Tuesday night. On Monday night, Lara Trupelli, chair of the Ocean Beach Vision Council had convened a town hall meeting at the Park Chalet for the DPW to present their plans to the community.

'The declaration plans to dump 300 yards (3 football fields) of boulder sized concrete blocks onto the beach and coastline. This would not only erode the coastline at a faster rate but also destroy the beach and use of it,' say SF Surfrider in their press release.

Environmentalists and residents are calling on the city to accept a 'managed retreat' solution that was proposed in 2003, to use sand to help reduce the rate of erosion, and to move the road and the pipe inland, but essentially to accept the natural process of erosion and preserve the use of the beach.

Part of that alternative could include rerouting traffic around the zoo, they say.

They blame the city for the current state of the coastline. Save the Waves say the issue has 'been a sore point for city officials, residents and environmentalists for almost two decades,' but the findings of the original Ocean Beach Task Force 'have been largely ignored by the City for over seven years. This inaction is partly responsible for the severe erosion problems and infrastructure risks that the City now faces.'

The Board of Supervisors' meeting at City Hall will be held at 2 pm on Tuesday, February 2.

info and petitions:

pics from Surfrider Foundation website

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