Friday, November 11, 2011
The last time I visited Ala Spit, in early October, the park was closed and there were three excavators on the beach removing the old concrete rubble and repositioning rocks and logs (below). Today, the crews were gone, and nature was busy editing their final project. The neck of the spit had been eroding for a long time - for a bunch of reasons - and the junk that had been dumped on the beach to protect it wasn't helping. It may have been making it worse (Ala Spit, 2007-2008).
The project involved pulling out all the hard parts that were keeping the spit from responding constructively to wave action and adding sand and gravel in the form of a new higher berm. The berm is a bit higher than the natural berm would have been and the waves are already cutting a scarp into it, but that's okay. And this winter, I suspect waves will cut through the new berm, creating a lower and slightly broader feature. That will also allow the logs to distribute themselves more evenly - right now they are packed into a narrow band on the steep upper beachface. Some of the eroded sediment will be added to the beachface; some will get washed over and down the backside. The salicornia (pickle weed) will object initially, but will soon remember that this is how it always used to happen before the spit was buried in big rock and concrete.
Here's what it looked like a month ago.