Overuse of inner harbor Perched Beach for dredge disposal has turned most of the former beach into an upland area, thus facilitating District plans to pave and develop. This “pre-development dredge disposal” was done without Coastal Commission permission in 1998 and 2006. One more dredge event was authorized in 2013, but public comment (including Supervisor Horsley) urged that future harbor dredge material be put to better use to restore and protect eroded shoreline areas. In order to secure the permit, Harbor District Manager wrote a last-minute letter to the Coastal Commission promising to do this. Read more.
Romeo Pier: Closed as unsafe in the 1990’s, rotting neglected ever since, the picturesque old pier is a marine debris disaster waiting to happen. (9/10/13 MCC letter to Harbor Commission)
Pillar Point RV Park was developed in 1999 on a Harbor District parcel that had been used for many decades as public beach parking with restroom facilities. The public restroom, a key amenity in this popular beach area, was closed. Critically needed west-of-highway beach parking has been lost, leading to increased highway congestion and danger for pedestrians. The much-reduced public day-use parking area is mostly empty due to $10 parking fee and towing/ private property signs. There have been ongoing issues with permanent residents at the RV Park.
Chronic harbor fecal pollution at Capistrano Beach: San Mateo County Resource Conservation District (RCD) directed a study to identify the sources of bacteria in Pillar Point Harbor and develop a plan to address the problem. “The key lesson learned from this project is that the high fecal indicator bacteria counts at Capistrano Beach are a landscape-level issue, not based at or in the Harbor itself but rather in the upland urban area.” Presentation of results. Final Report.
Harbor History & Documents:
1966-69 Harbor District dissolved by BoS, overturned by courts
1996 Army Corps construct concrete wall tying west breakwater to Pillar Point
2012 West Trail Erosion Study, via Public Records Request:
Surfers' Beach Erosion
Construction of the Pillar Point Harbor breakwater by the Army Corps of Engineers 1959-61 dramatically increased the rate of erosion south of the jetty. Local grassroots lobbying motivated the Army Corps, with the Harbor District as local sponsor, to undertake the Northern Half Moon Bay Shoreline Improvement Project in 2009. The project could consider a range of solutions, potentially including dredging sand from the harbor and creating openings in the jetty to create sand outflows.
The Army Corps process is lengthy as shown in this table. The feasibility portion of the Planning Phase has had many delays over the last 4 years and is still incomplete. The Army Corps reported at public meeting 11/8/13 (presentation, video) that even if they eventually approved a mitigation project, it would be modest in scope due to funding limitations, and would not happen before 2017 earliest.
--Presentation on surf & sand dynamics at Pillar Point by local surfer and civil engineer Bob Battalio, Oct 2009
At Surfer’s Beach a 400-ft section of Coastal Trail and Highway 1 is unprotected by bluff or boulders. Access along the sideways-slanted trail or down to the beach in this popular spot is a slippery proposition. The County and Caltrans are collaborating on a project to protect and improve Coastal Trail and beach access at this location. The Coastal Commission is supportive of the goal. The County obtained funding from Cosco Busan oil spill mitigation for project planning and permitting. Concerned with lack of progress, in fall 2013 Supervisor Horsley asked Caltrans to take emergency action to protect the highway. (Caltrans reply, MCC support)
Coastal Regional Sediment (sand) Management (RSM) Plans are being developed for specific portions of the coast (littoral cells). The program seeks to present ways to restore and preserve beaches, reduce the proliferation of protective shoreline structures, sustain recreation and tourism, enhance public safety and access, restore coastal sandy habitats, and identify cost-effective solutions for restoration of areas impacted by excess sediment.
Santa Cruz Littoral Cell Coastal RSM Plan is currently being developed for Pillar Point to Moss Landing. The task list includes:
Princeton Shoreline Erosion & Armoring
SMC Health System: Beach Water Quality Advisories