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Ocean Beach Erosion Grabs Gray Lady’s Gaze

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Tom Prete/Ocean Beach Bulletin

A view of erosion at Ocean Beach from Sloat Boulevard.

Fishing spots washed away, beachside parking lots crumbled into the sea, favorite walking places covered by walls of rocks or simply gone. It seems every regular visitor to the southern end of Ocean Beach has a story about something changed or taken away by the erosion that continues to claim more of San Francisco’s western shore.

The Ocean Beach Bulletin has been reporting on an effort to address that erosion and other beach issues — the Ocean Beach Master Plan — since 2010, and with The New York Times newspaper reporting on it Sunday, Ocean Beach erosion and the master plan are sure to gain more attention around the world:

Holding back the sea here seems as impossible as holding back the fog. But planners see Ocean Beach as a top priority in a long roster of Bay Area sites threatened by inundation because of what lies on its landward side: the Great Highway, a $220 million wastewater treatment plant and a 14-foot-wide underground pipe that keeps sewage-tainted storm water away from the ocean.

The question facing at least eight local, state and federal agencies boils down to this: With California officials expecting climate change to raise sea levels here by 14 inches by 2050, should herculean efforts be made to preserve the beach, the pipe and the plant, or should the community simply bow to nature?

The Times also touched on a San Francisco State University study about the economic impact of erosion on the Ocean Beach area, which in September 2011 found that 92 percent of the beach itself could be eliminated by the year 2100 due to erosion. Erosion and subsidence could rack up $540 million in damages to land, buildings and infrastructure. The state-funded study also found that erosion could result in the loss of $82 million by 2100, in the form of decreased tourism spending and lower state and local tax revenue.

The Ocean Beach Master Plan is a potential new benchmark for how other coastal communities will deal with their own challenges related to erosion and rising sea levels, the Times noted, possibly providing solutions that don’t rely on concrete walls or piles of boulders.

Read the complete article about Ocean Beach erosion at The New York Times.

Source: Ocean Beach Bulletin [http://oceanbeachbulletin.com/2012/03/25/ocean-beach-erosion-grabs-gray-ladys-gaze/]

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The Ocean Beach Bulletin covers the news, history and culture of Ocean Beach and nearby neighborhoods on San Francisco's western edge.

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