Homeowners in Malibu, CA, are trying to protect their property along the popular Broad Beach through a beach renourishment project—adding sand to replace what’s been lost to erosion. Although they’re prepared to pay for the roughly $20 million project themselves, they’ve run into a problem: They can’t find a source of sand.
Finding sand of the right type for a particular beach can be challenging in itself. In this case, Malibu residents first attempted to take sand from nearby Manhattan Beach, but the city blocked that option. Now they want to dredge from a site offshore of Dockweiler Beach in Los Angeles, but the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors wants to leave the sand in place for possible future restoration of other public beaches; as sea levels rise, the department says, these types of projects might become more common and more critical.
As this article recounts, various controversies have surrounded this particular stretch of shoreline for years. Homeowners—who include the likes of Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, and other celebrities—once tried to limit public access to Broad Beach. When the erosion situation started looking grim eight years ago, 108 beachfront property owners started moving sand from the public beach to build a berm on their own properties; the California Coastal Commission put a quick stop to that. However, the commission did eventually allow residents to build a more-than-4,000-foot-long rock wall three years ago as an emergency measure. As part of that arrangement, residents were supposed to devise a stabilization plan; several studies have been done since then, and property owners say a plan is in the works but has not yet been submitted for approval.
As it stands now, the name Broad Beach is a misnomer, and the sea continues to move closer. Meanwhile, other renourishment projects are ongoing in other parts of the country; this one on Hideaway Beach in Marco Island, FL, also had some question about the sand source but is moving ahead this month.
Join us at the Coastal Protection Symposium this August in Myrtle Beach. Information can be found at www.stormcon.com/coastal_protection_symposium.html