By Joe Muller
I am very pleased at the response from my previous article. It has elicited the responses I expected. My intention was to issue a call to action, not mandate any single solution.
First, I need to do a little housekeeping. One of the Letters to the Editor mentioned a wave run-up study be conducted by the city of Dana Point. This is not true. The city is not and does not plan to do this study. The beaches in the city of Dana Point are operated by either the county of Orange or the state of California, so any study would need to be commissioned by one of these organizations.
One point made in response to my column, with which I totally agree, is that this problem needs a long-term solution. However, as we are working on the long-term solution, we may need to implement some short-term solutions to address the damage and loss of access to our public serving infrastructure.
We may not have as much time as we think to save our beaches. An OC Register article by Lauren Williams was published on March 28, stating that we could lose our beaches by 2100 without human intervention.
We need to accept the fact we are part of the environment. We have the ability to influence the world environment as is evident when you consider sea level rise. We are concerned about how this impacts the coastal environment but what we don’t want to discuss is: how can we keep the coast as is today?
To me, the question is: does sea level rise have a detrimental effect on the coast and, if so, is there a solution that will allow us to keep the coast line as undisturbed as possible?
The Surfrider response was totally expected. They have their agenda and clearly stated it in their letter to the editor. The reality is that armoring is one solution that has been employed along the coast. It works in some areas and not so well in others. For every example of a failure and damage to the beach, examples of where armoring works can be given.
Managed recession, even though it may sound good in theory, does not deal with public coastal access or private property owners’ rights. If this is the path people want to go down, they need to be prepared. As the beaches disappear, so does coastal access. This was never meant to be a debate over what solution is best. My desire is to start the discussion of possible solutions to saving our beaches. This is a call to action to bring all stakeholders together to start this discussion. I am calling on the county of Orange, the state of California, Surfrider, Coastal Commission and any interested party to come together and have meaningful productive conversations to try and solve this problem.