The Not-So-Natural Beach – Ryan Anderson

Groin in Oceanside California, built in 1961. © 2019 Ryan Anderson.

Growing up, I always imagined the beach to be a natural place. I think it’s safe to say that this sentiment may be pretty common among many beachgoers. It’s easy to think of the beach as being somewhat “natural,” or at least close to that thing some people call “nature.” This is a short piece, so I won’t go down the what is nature!? rabbit hole for now. By natural I mean something along the lines of “not caused or created by human intervention.” So here’s the thing: many beaches are actually far less “natural” than many people assume or know…

The “Octopus Garden” – MBARI

Pearl octopus (Muusoctopus robustus) nesting in rocky crevices in the "Octopus Garden" on the Davidson Seamount, part of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary off the central coast of California. (courtesy of Ocean Exploration Trust / NOAA, public domain).

Deep below the ocean’s surface just off the Central California coast, thousands of octopus gather near an extinct underwater volcano. The Octopus Garden is the largest known aggregation of octopus anywhere in the world…

California Against the Sea: Visions for our Vanishing Coastline – by Rosanna Xia

Book Cover, California Against the Sea: Visions for our Vanishing Coastline, by Rosanna Xia 2023 via Heyday Press.

Along California’s 1,200-mile coastline, the overheated Pacific Ocean is rising and pressing in, imperiling both wildlife and the maritime towns and cities that 27 million people call home. In California Against the Sea, Los Angeles Times coastal reporter Rosanna Xia asks: As climate chaos threatens the places we love so fiercely, will we finally grasp our collective capacity for change?

Carlsbad considers joining other coastal cities in yet another sand replenishment project – the San Diego Union-Tribune

Carlsbad (by Dusty CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr).

SANDAG asked Carlsbad to shoulder a proportional share of the $200,000 cost for a planning, feasibility and economic analysis needed to start the project, which would pull sand from the ocean and spread it on beaches from Oceanside to Imperial Beach….

UPDATE: The City Council unanimously opposed actively participating in the City of Oceanside’s sand nourishment pilot project during its April 11 meeting, remaining opposed to any plans that may obstruct the natural flow of sand down the San Diego County coastline.

However, the Carlsbad City Council agreed to request a city staffer be present during the neighboring city’s proposed pilot project meetings and design competitions…

Up to 70% of California beaches could disappear by end of the century – the Guardian

"What! Another Photo of Morro Rock?"(by loren chipman CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr).

A new study uses satellites to predict what California’s famous coastline could look like by 2100.

California is known for golden sands and endless waves, but much of the state’s famous shoreline could vanish in the future. That’s according to a new study, which found that between 25% and 70% of California beaches might be washed away by the end of the century, leaving only cliffs or coastal infrastructure in their wake…

As California attempts a ‘managed retreat,’ coastal homeowners sue to stay – Grist Magazine

Half Moon Bay (by Don Claus CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

“We’re in this dilemma of figuring out, how do you convince the community to move?” said (Gary) Griggs.

Mirada Road is a small cul-de-sac that runs right up to the edge of the Pacific Ocean, skirting the rim of a 30-foot bluff. The townhomes on this street, which is located in Half Moon Bay, California, are separated from the sea by nothing but a pedestrian walking trail on a beach that is eroding a few inches every year…

Volcano? Climate change? Bad luck? – the Los Angeles Times

April 17, 2023 Air Mass RGB imagery courtesy of NOAA.

As winter approached, few anticipated what was about to hit California. Mired in a serious drought, the state was suddenly battered by an onslaught of 31 atmospheric river storms in a matter of months. While the number alone isn’t exceptional, the location, intensity and duration of these storms had a transforming effect on California’s climate. Record snowfall. Deadly flooding…But one thing remains a mystery: Why did so many of these bands of water vapor, many back-to-back, slam into California?

Massive beach restoration project for Orange County coastline approved – CBS | KCAL News

Sunday Afternoon on the Pacific Surfliner: View of Beach & Lifequard Tower, Orange County (by Joe Wolf CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

The Federal Government has agreed to a major beach restoration project in Orange County to restore almost 2 million cubic feet of sand lost to storm erosion over the past several years.

The sand will be dredged from the sea and added to replenish the coastline from Seal Beach to Bolsa Chica to Huntington Beach and as far as the Newport Beach Pier.

“We’re experiencing a large amount of receding of sand into the ocean,” said Kevin Pearsall, State Parks Superintendent.

The project will help protect property and roads from flooding. Seal Beach saw flooding in January.

“It’s nerve wracking that they have to do that, but time erodes everything,” said Colleen Walsh, a Bolsa Chica resident…

Frans Lanting’s ‘Bay of Life’ Project Showcases Local Ecosystem – Good Times

The Bay of Life Exhibit at MAH, January 21, 2023 (by D Shrestha Ross CC BY-SA)

I can almost smell smoke as I stare at one of the photographs on display…Deep orange flames swallow a hillside next to the ocean, and thick smoke blacks out the sky. It’s a photo from the 2020 CZU fire.

“We were engulfed by it,” says (Frans) Lanting. “Chris and I live in Bonny Doon. And we nearly lost our own home. But we banded together with neighbors to fight off the fire…”