Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Linda Mar Beach

Pacifica State Beach, or Linda Mar Beach, after this part of Pacifica, was the last stop of my short Pacifica tour. A lot has been written about this beach - largely related to a project in the early 2000s that dealt with at-risk structures, stormwater, dune rehabilitation, and the mouth of San Pedro Creek. 


It's cited as an example of "managed retreat," a coastal strategy that aims to remove vulnerable structures and allows beaches to widen and shorelines to retreat, while managing the adverse impacts to coastal infrastructure. In this way, it is seen by many as a more logical and ultimately more affordable approach to chronic erosion and rising sea levels than an escalating battle to fortify development. To others, particularly those that have a lot invested in that vulnerable development, this is described as giving in to nature and as threatening the vitality of coastal communities. I think a lot of this is about people's time frames and about balancing public costs and private benefits. I guess if this was easy, it wouldn't be such a critical public policy issue.

Some quick observations --- that mostly avoid the controversy. Most of this beach has a wide backshore and dunes. The bathhouse remains, and looks pretty vulnerable, but hasn't led to extensive armor -- at least yet.

The most interesting area to me was the southernmost end, beyond the mouth of San Pedro Creek. The row of small homes on pilings looks exceedingly vulnerable - maybe that's what gives it its character - but there will eventually be a reckoning. Meanwhile, this end of the beach is also marked by a distinct cobble berm, which might provide some hints to less intrusive ways of protecting some of these places - or at least buy some time.

The tag line for this blog suggests its about Puget Sound, but the last post from Puget Sound was from Whidbey Island, last July (Double Bluff). Since then, I've wandered to the Gulf Islands (almost Puget Sound), to Utah (the Spiral Jetty, at Promontory Point), to Rhode Island, and most recently, to California. I think I'm going to finally get back to Puget Sound this week (probably Whidbey Island again). Stay tuned.

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