Shrinking shores

Signs of sea level rise were evident Saturday morning at Poplar Beach where city and county staff placed markers to indicate where the shoreline is expected to be in the coming decades.

The placement of markers indicating sea level and bluff erosion level forecasting for 2030, 2050 and 2100 were determined from the county of San Mateo and city of Half Moon Bay’s respective studies that have taken a close look at the risks.

The exercise was a way to bring awareness of those upcoming changes in a very visceral way.

“I’ve literally seen eyes popping out,” said Jasneet Sharma, climate resiliency specialist with the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability. “You’re going to be losing your beaches.”

But the goal wasn’t to scare people. Montserrat Plascencia, a sustainability fellow with the Office of Sustainability said it’s helpful to remain positive and work through solutions.

When news that President Donald Trump was pulling out of the Paris climate agreement hit just days before the event — an action that left a sour taste with many environmentally minded citizens — Plascencia said that it just made her and her co-workers feel more fired up.

“It’s not game over, it’s game on,” Plascencia said.

The county’s draft Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment was just released in April, and Saturday’s event was part of the county’s effort to further awareness of the issues and make the nearly 300-page report easier to digest.

“A lot of it comes down to community support,” Plascencia said.

The city of Half Moon Bay has contracted a study of its own to examine the issues leading to the erosion surrounding the Pillar Point bluffs.

City officials placed signs on the bluff top Saturday to illustrate where erosion was expected if the issues of human use and drainage were left unaddressed.

At the June 20 Half Moon Bay City Council meeting, the council is expected to make some decisions on what actions the city should take on those concerns.

“In general, the City is looking to prioritize bluff top erosion management to preserve the existing trail for the next five years,” wrote Half Moon Bay’s Community Development Director John Doughty in an email to the Review. “To begin some control of access on bluff top, to work on plant restoration of bluff top. We are also looking at design of a more permanent access from the bluff top (Poplar Beach Parking Lot) to the beach.”

Miramar resident Joe Fullerton attended the Shrinking Shores event with his 1-year-old son. Fullerton got a front-row seat to the erosion issues when winter storms took out a significant chunk from the Miramar coastline.

“I’m glad I rent,” Fullerton said. “Especially when we saw what a round of winter storms can do.”

Signs of sea level rise were evident Saturday morning at Poplar Beach where city and county staff placed markers to indicate where the shoreline is expected to be in the coming decades.

The placement of markers indicating sea level and bluff erosion level forecasting for 2030, 2050 and 2100 were determined from the county of San Mateo and city of Half Moon Bay’s respective studies that have taken a close look at the risks.

The exercise was a way to bring awareness of those upcoming changes in a very visceral way.

“I’ve literally seen eyes popping out,” said Jasneet Sharma, climate resiliency specialist with the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability. “You’re going to be losing your beaches.”

But the goal wasn’t to scare people. Montserrat Plascencia, a sustainability fellow with the Office of Sustainability said it’s helpful to remain positive and work through solutions.

When news that President Donald Trump was pulling out of the Paris climate agreement hit just days before the event — an action that left a sour taste with many environmentally minded citizens — Plascencia said that it just made her and her co-workers feel more fired up.

“It’s not game over, it’s game on,” Plascencia said.

The county’s draft Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment was just released in April, and Saturday’s event was part of the county’s effort to further awareness of the issues and make the nearly 300-page report easier to digest.

“A lot of it comes down to community support,” Plascencia said.

The city of Half Moon Bay has contracted a study of its own to examine the issues leading to the erosion surrounding the Pillar Point bluffs.

City officials placed signs on the bluff top Saturday to illustrate where erosion was expected if the issues of human use and drainage were left unaddressed.

At the June 20 Half Moon Bay City Council meeting, the council is expected to make some decisions on what actions the city should take on those concerns.

“In general, the City is looking to prioritize bluff top erosion management to preserve the existing trail for the next five years,” wrote Half Moon Bay’s Community Development Director John Doughty in an email to the Review. “To begin some control of access on bluff top, to work on plant restoration of bluff top. We are also looking at design of a more permanent access from the bluff top (Poplar Beach Parking Lot) to the beach.”

Miramar resident Joe Fullerton attended the Shrinking Shores event with his 1-year-old son. Fullerton got a front-row seat to the erosion issues when winter storms took out a significant chunk from the Miramar coastline.

“I’m glad I rent,” Fullerton said. “Especially when we saw what a round of winter storms can do.”

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