Stay or go? Some towns are eyeing retreat from sea

isla vista  coastal erosion
Coastal erosion, Isla Vista, CA. Photograph: © SAF

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Pounded by erosion, some communities hugging California’s shoreline are eyeing a retreat from the sea.

The city of Ventura last year moved a scenic bike path inland. Just last month, Santa Barbara County gave the OK to study the environmental impacts of ripping up parking lots and relocating utilities and a bike path at Goleta Beach County Park. San Francisco is mulling a significant retreat on its western flank where the scenic Great Highway is under assault from the Pacific.

Up and down the California coast, some communities are deciding it’s not worth trying to wall off the encroaching ocean. Until recently, the thought of bowing to nature was almost unheard of.

There’s a growing acknowledgement that the sea is relentless and erosion will worsen with rising seas fueled by global warming…

Read Full Article, AP

In Ventura, a retreat in the face of a rising sea, Los Angeles Times-January 16th,2011.
At Surfers Point in Ventura, California is beginning its retreat from the ocean.Construction crews are removing a crumbling bike path, ripping out a 120-space parking lot and laying down sand and cobblestones. By pushing the asphalt 65 feet inland, the project is expected to give the wave-ravaged point 50 more years of life.

Goleta Beach California, Coastal Care
An ongoing problem concerning Goleta Beach is coastal erosion; sand and sediment is constantly being washed away and the beach is narrowing. Goleta Beach County Park, occupies approximately 29 acres with 4,200 feet of beach frontage in Santa Barbara County. Santa Barbara County Parks held a public forum April 2011, to discuss Goleta Beach 2.0, a new plan to protect Goleta Beach from land erosion. The plan includes the option called managed retreat whereby structures, utility lines and the west end parking area at Goleta Beach Park would be moved away from the beach to allow a more natural erosion buffer zone.The managed retreat option appears as the best solution. Beaches are dynamic, changing in shape over both space and time, while the seas are rising. As the beaches are allowed to naturally grow, upper beach dune plants and dunes will eventually form. These are nature’s best form of coastal defense.