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Restore Sloat

Restore Sloat

The San Francisco Chapter is working to minimize the impacts of the short-term response to this erosion and to advocate for a long-term response that incorporates managed retreat strategies to preserve the beach at Sloat. 

Last update: May 20

South Ocean Beach is an ‘erosion hotspot’ where the beach is quickly disappearing and major wastewater infrastructure is vulnerable to sea level rise. The Surfrider Foundation has supported a climate adaptation project at South Ocean Beach for more than ten years because action is needed to protect the beach, coastal access and clean water as sea levels rise. At the June Coastal Commission meeting, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will be proposing an adaptation project that addresses many complex issues at this part of the beach. Surfrider plans to ask for adjustments that better preserve the existence of the beach in light of sea level rise.

The City's Proposal: SFPUC is proposing to remove the rubble currently on the beach around Sloat. They also plan to remove the Great Highway Extension because it is too close to the ocean. Their project then proposes to place a 3,200 foot long wall in front of the Lake Merced Tunnel (running along the coast) to protect this sewage and stormwater infrastructure from sea level rise. They propose to bury the wall in sand and vegetate the slope. SFPUC also plans to replace the inland half of the Great Highway Extension with a trail for coastal viewing, biking, and walking. Traffic will be rerouted around the zoo and 60 parking spaces will be added. More can be read about SFPUC's proposed project in their Environmental Impact Report.

Surfrider Foundation’s Position: Surfrider is concerned that placing a large amount of concrete too close to the ocean will result in the loss of the beach South of Sloat as sea levels rise. In particular, the mile long buried wall and concrete pedestrian path will be very difficult to remove as sea levels rise and the wall itself will be an additional source of erosion when it is exposed. Our concern is that the beach is likely to be lost at some point in the future. We believe that SFPUC can achieve its important goals at South OB including wastewater infrastructure protection, connection of the California Coastal trail, coastal viewing opportunities, etc and still put a more resilient project in place. Surfrider is asking for

1) Adjusted design of the seawall, stairways and multi-use path so that they are more easily relocated in the future; ie by making the bike path out of dirt instead of concrete and by using a slat-based design for the seawall

2) A more robust sand management plan to ensure the seawall remains buried in the short term and is not a significant source of erosion, and

3) A long-term sea level rise adaptation plan with strong triggers, monitoring and planning commitments towards relocation of the Lake Merced Tunnel before 2100.

We'll be at the Coastal Commission hearing on this project in June — join our listserv to stay tuned and help us protect South Ocean Beach.  The June hearing is potentially our last opportunity to make changes to the seawall and pathway design that could save the beach.