A small piece of the crumbling coastline at Surfer's Beach may just get the support it needs.
San Mateo County Parks received an advisory last week from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that they will receive $180K for the Surfers Beach Access and Erosion Control Project from the Cosco Busan Oil Spill Settlement Recreational Use Grant Program.
On Nov. 7, 2007, the cargo vessel Cosco Busan struck a tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, releasing over 53,000 gallons of bunker fuel. State and federal natural resource trustee agencies assessed the injuries to wildlife, habitat, and recreational uses, and made a claim for damages.
The case was resolved in January 2012, with the Trustees — the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and California State Lands Commission (CSLC) — receiving over $30 million for restoration projects and to fund projects that compensate the public for loss of use and enjoyment of natural resources, parks, public beaches, and other public resources. After public comment, a restoration plan was finalized last March. Since then, the Trustees have allocated nearly $11 million for 45 different projects.
In San Mateo County, nine projects, including Surfer's Beach, have been selected for awards by the state Trustees in the total amount of $1,683,810. Those nine restoration projects are:
• Montara State Beach Access Improvement ($428,810)
• Coyote Point Promenade Western Shoreline ($400,000)
• Pacifica Pier Resoration Project ($250,000)
• Surfers Beach Access and Erosion Control Project ($180,000)
• Bay Trail Beautification in East Palo Alto ($150,000)
• Marine Science Institute Enhancement of Beachfront Shoreline Access ($120,000)
• Public Paddle Dock Access to SF Bay Wildlife Refuge, Redwood City ($70,000)
• Kiteboard/Windsurf Recreational Area Improvement in Foster City ($60,000)
• Marine Science Institute Restroom Facility Upgrade ($25,000)
The Surfer's Beach Access and Erosion Control Project will create a safer passage from Highway 1 down to the beach, by shoring up the shoulder and connecting the pedestrian and bike path along a 400-foot gap of land to Mirada Surf Coastal Trail in Miramar.
“Our county park is adjacent to this area, and we’re very interested in being neighbors and how recreational users can pass through here and beyond,” said Cecily Harris, a development consultant for San Mateo County Parks. “Whether it’s a stairway with a retaining wall and what materials are used, that is yet to be determined. This will be Phase 1 of the project that County Parks will facilitate by bringing partners and funding together to make it happen.”
Those partners include Caltrans and the City of Half Moon Bay, who own the land, as well as the San Mateo County Harbor District, Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and the Coastal Commission.
“We are pulling together the whole group to come up with the design, planning and permits," said Harris. "Hopefully the grant money we’ve been awarded will be enough money to get this project going. It will be a very public process.”
The Surfer's Beach Access and Erosion Control Project will not directly address the proposed sand-dredging project in Pillar Point Harbor with the Army Corps of Engineers or the breakwater erosion issue and loss of sand along the remainder of Surfer’s Beach down to the Miramar Beach Restaurant.
"They are all related entities and very important issues but the County’s project with this 400-foot gap will only address the erosion in that area, not the rest of the coastline or the Army Corps project in the Harbor,” said Harris. “They do need to compliment each other and so this project will include multiple agencies to make sure that happens.”
Harris says the hope is to come up with a plan for this area that will sustain the test of time and Mother Nature. The work already done by the Army of Corps of Engineers, who researched the tides and movement of water there, will certainly help inspire the design, she said.
“Any time an agency uses public money for a project we all hope it lasts forever. Whether the team comes up with something permanent or that will be an interim solution while other work is being done, this is yet to be determined,” she said.
March 12 is when the County will accept the funding. Construction won’t start until Spring.
“At this time we have secured the funding, but it’s not our land so the City of Half Moon Bay and Caltrans will advise the project,” said Harris. "This is a great start, and it’s pretty exiting for recreational users.”
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