By Joe Muller

Here we are at the end of our first large swell of the fall surf season. While surfers and beach goers enjoyed the beauty of these large waves, we need to discuss the damage they can and did cause to our local beaches.

We had some beaches that were unusable due to the high surf and downed trees. Now, I realize this is part of living near the coast, but we also need to understand if we don’t start planning we could lose beach amenities and infrastructure. We have witnessed this over the past couple of years where erosion has damaged our coastal parking lots and picnic areas. All of this comes back to how we can protect our beaches. Not only do they represent our rich history, they are a vital resource of our visitor serving economy.

Last month, I attended the League of California Cities Conference where the Coastal Cities Issues Group met for the first time. The California Coastal Commission (CCC) gave the primary presentation regarding sea level rise. The discussion centered on the “Draft Residential Adaptation Policy Guidelines” being developed by the CCC. Part of this document addressed communities with high bluffs and infrastructure near the beach.

This is the category Dana Point falls into. Basically, we have nowhere to recess. Immediately inland from the beach we have either train tracks, Pacific Coast Highway or high bluff tops.  When I asked about a solution to our situation, the CCC representative responded that the CCC doesn’t have a solution for this and wants to work with all stakeholders to address the problem.  It seemed to me the CCC is recognizing the people of California love their beaches and are not willing to let them disappear without fighting to protect the current status and the future viability of these coastal resources.

It is time to bring the stakeholders together to get this discussion started. I am going to start the dialogue with California State Parks, Orange County Parks, California Coastal Commission, Surfrider Foundation, Caltrans and Orange County Transportation Authority. The goal is to ultimately host a public forum to get input from all concerned parties and try to develop a plan to preserve all of the beaches in our beautiful town.

If you want to participate and stay informed on what is happening regarding this effort, please go to https://www.facebook.com/savecapobeach.

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