A patch of Santa Monica’s “plumped-up” beach will soon go au naturel thanks to a restoration makeover -- and the reason why is climate change.
Over decades, Santa Monica has expended considerable effort to bring 17 million people a year to walk on its golden sands. What most of those visitors don’t know is that the coastal strand is "nourished" – or, in the words of NASA scientist Bill Patzert, “Botoxed” with added sand. Dredged sand from infrastructure projects and other sources of nourishment has widened the shore to triple what it was a century ago.
That’s why scientists from the nonprofit Bay Foundation, with permission from the city, are testing a way to protect the beach by changing its shape. What makes this project striking is where they’re doing it: on one of the busiest artificial -- ahem, enhanced -- beaches in the state.
On a bright winter’s day, the Bay Foundation’s Rod Abbott runs up the beach, winding up a measuring tape as he goes. He and his colleagues are working within a 3-acre test site north of Santa Monica Pier.