Problematic Coastal Development

March 16, 2022

Cars traversing Portuguese Bend, the landslide-prone area of Rancho Palos Verdes © 2022 Deepika Shrestha Ross.

A chunk of Rancho Palos Verdes is sliding into the sea. Can the city stop it? – the Los Angeles Times

A drive along the ocean on the Palos Verdes Peninsula is Southern California at its finest. Sunlight dances on the water. Coves are pristine, unsullied by development. Catalina Island appears so near you can almost spot the bison.

Look a bit closer, though, and you’ll see signs of a disaster waiting to happen.

An above-ground sewage pipe snakes along the road. The pavement on Palos Verdes Drive South is rutted and warped, jutting up and down like an asphalt roller coaster. The hills are strewn with houses on makeshift foundations, perched on haphazard stilts and shipping containers.

The problem: A dormant landslide complex that shaped the south side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula for hundreds of thousands of years was reactivated 67 years ago, and it’s threatening to destroy homes and infrastructure.

Palos Verdes Peninsula has long been prone to landslides, and the most dramatic one is affecting Portuguese Bend, an area named after a Portuguese whaling operation, now known for its natural beauty and native vegetation. The geological phenomenon has hit a 240-acre area hard over the last seven decades, causing fissures to open in the earth and homes to strain, buckle and drift, sometimes outright wandering onto adjacent properties…


Photo Above: Landslide prone area of Rancho Palos Verdes © 2022 Deepika Shrestha Ross.

More on Problematic Coastal Development . . .

Flooding caused by Hurricane Arthur on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, July 4, 2014 (by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert CC BY-NC-ND 2.0via Flickr).

Shifting Sands: Carolina’s Outer Banks Face a Precarious Future – Yale Environment 360

Cottages have been tumbling into the ocean for as long as humans have been building along the Outer Banks. The difference now is that they appear to be falling in at a faster rate, and scores of homes are now at risk. 

Areas of the Outer Banks have retreated over 200 feet in the last two decades and are currently losing about 13 feet a year…

Connecting coastal processes with global systems

We live, work, and play at the coast. About 40 percent of the world’s population currently lives near the coast. By 2100, more than twice as many people could live in areas susceptible to flooding, given sea level rise, urban growth, and high carbon dioxide emission scenarios.

no more posts . . .