These photos illustrate the aftermath of the California Coastal Commission’s decision to allow the Headlands Reserve LLC do “repair and maintenance” on an old and insubstantial seawall at Strands beach. Because there were no structures on the land behind it, the new development should have been set back to avoid negative impacts to the beach.
Construction on the beach May 2006, looking south towards Dana Headlands
Construction on the beach May 2006, looking north towards Salt Creek.
Click here for more photos of this bad beach project.
Here’s how a seawall will destroy an eroding beach, like Strands beach, through a process called passive erosion.
Not only are beaches important recreational areas, they are also important ecosystems that bridge the land-sea interface. A recent paper by Jenny Dugan at UCSB describes how seawalls impact the biodiversity of beaches.
Seawalls can also attract exotic species such as this squirrel that lives in the Strands beach seawall who is eating kelp and competing with other native species for resources.
To learn more about seawalls in California, visit the State of the Beach report.