Along our California coast pacific storms create large ocean swells with damaging consequences, coastal erosion is a consistent threat to any structure build along this coast. The city of Ventura has learned from experience and is implementing innovative solutions with dealing with these issues. Down at the Ventura Pier and Promenade off of Ventura’s California St, the beach is sandy but very quickly the west end of the beach just north of the Pier, is entirely made up of large pebbles. Though these large pebbles were not brought here by some natural force, they were placed on the beach, along with geotextiles and concrete seawalls to protect our coastal structures. As you walk along the concrete path heading north you quickly notice the sandy beach almost completely disappear, a bit further down the path the signs and extent of erosion are even more prevalent. Large pieces of the existing concrete path have fallen into the ocean, exposed underlaying geotextiles are now slowly ripped away contributing to micro plastic pollution, and any remnants of the once sandy beach are nowhere to be found. Several years of doing the same thing over again, of consistently rebuilding the damage caused by coastal erosion has the city of Ventura looking for better more sustained solutions to the problem. The Surfer’s Point managed retreat project proposes that the bike path and parking lot be pushed back further away from the beach. This would restore the natural buffer zone along the coast, the fairgrounds property would be protected and the new parking lot will treat and filter storm water resulting in increased water quality and a more natural beach. On top of what was the parking lot and bike path, is a layer of cobble stones covered with sand with dunes and vegetation on top of that. These dunes stabilize the beach and restore a more natural beach. This type of project is really the first of it’s kind, moving away from building harden structures, it protects public access to the beach and accommodates rising seas. This being the heavily used public space in Ventura, the economic value of a vibrate beach is very important to the city.
Lens: Biological, Environmental, Educational, and Community
This trip was a Channel Islands University and RJ Frank Middle School collaboration called B-Wet. This project was being conducted in order to have a teaching opportunity with younger students. By splitting up into groups according to each activity, each student is given a hands-on opportunity to gain knowledge and demonstration of environmental issues occurring in tide pools, streams, and vegetation on this beach. My group went on a nature hike by the sea cliffs. We also discussed different types of birds species with the students and had them shout out what they thought certain bird species were. The second and third activity took place in the tide pools. We used grids placed over a designated area in the tide pool where certain species could be found. There were crabs, sea anemone, starfish, and sea cucumber. The next activity was a scavenger hunt to discover different sea creatures down the shoreline. The last activity was a journey upstream, looking at rock formations and a variety of vegetation that transports rocks into their deposit sites. Also looking at the erosion preocesses over a period of time, allowing for the students to envision what it once looked like before droughts. Overall, this experience is one I will remember forever. Teaching kids about the environment around them and how they can be apart of the solution was truly amazing. I would suggest everyone to visit this beach and take in its true beauty.
Two weekends ago, I went on my first trip to Santa Rosa Island with my GIS class. Although we went to learn about mapping etc., I came out of the trip with a different perspective of the beach. I can’t remember the last time I went a few days without my phone or communication with people on the mainland. Although it did make me somewhat anxious, disconnecting from reality was much needed. The lens that I will be using today is the spiritual lens.
For starters, whenever we had free time I made my way down to the beach. With no phone, all I could really do was take in the view and the beauty. At that point I was grateful that I didn’t have a phone to distract me from the beauty of the beach. As I sat on the beach, I realized how lucky I was to even be on an island with such beautiful waters. The reason I chose a spiritual lens was because as I sat on the beach I began to think very deeply. It made me think about all the things that matter in life are not material or physical things. Living in a society where owning expensive shoes, cars, clothes, etc. defines “success”, I began to think about what I believe really mattered. Getting to know new places, meeting new people, and inner peace is what I felt really mattered. It overall made me appreciate sitting on a beach with so much history.
The reason I say history, is because of the structure of the beach. In Dr. Kiki Patsch’s Physical Oceanography class, i learned that throughout the years, sea floors rise creating a new sort of shelf. It was my first time actually noticing that natural process. It was apparent that the shelf was sea floor before because of how fragile it looked. As I took this into consideration, I thought about how I was literally sitting on a mini time capsule. I was sitting on a beach with so much history behind it and this made me realize that ALL beaches have an insane amount of history to them. This beach trip alone allowed me to appreciate the beach because of the sense of peace and gratefulness I got as I was there. (unfortunately, my phone was low on storage so I wasn’t able to save my pictures I took on the actual beach, but this is me on a hike with the ocean view in the back.)
My first beach blog will be on about my visit to the Ventura Harbor Beach. I personally had never been to this particular beach before the Beach Clean Up. On the day I believe I was looking through an environmental lens because I was out there to clean up the beach. I actually arrived very late to the Beach Clean Up because I had just gotten a cold so I missed out some of the larger pieces of trash But because of this I really had to look closer into the environment. I Mostly stayed on the beach looking for anything hoping I would come back with something that the trip wasn’t just about me walking on the beach aimlessly for an hour. On my search for trash, I noticed how the beach plants and the sand dunes. How the waves crashing onto the rocky shores. To the left of it a small cliff with a sandy beach with many waves crashing onto the shore. To the Right a calm sandy beach with families enjoying the view. It wasn’t until looking did I notice the trash. Many pieces of black foam, paper, styrofoam, and plastic. All the trash that I gathered was mostly small bits and pieces no bigger into the pinky fingernail. All the pieces that I gathered were all trapped around ground squirrel holes, tangled in the roots of the beach plants, and tangled in squirrel fur around the beach plants. It was also apparent that some inconsiderate people were taking advantage of the Beach Cleanup as I saw some people litter all over the place.
It was these moments that really opened my eyes to the environmental lens because of how litterbugs were throwing their trash wherever. This would later end up being eaten by seabirds or taken into the ocean where sea creatures will either eat the pieces or continue to stay afloat in the ocean. Eventually, it’ll end up back on the beach where more beach animals will get at the pieces. Seeing where all these pieces of garbage really make you aware where the trash goes when thrown away improperly. Overall Even though it doesn’t look like it in the picture I had fun
For our first blog entry I have decided to reflect on my visit to Broad Beach in Malibu, CA. I had visited this beach a week prior to writing this blog entry. The purpose of my visit was to attend a field lecture with Dr. Reineman, our topic of discussion was beach loss. In the case of Broad Beach in Malibu, beach loss comes in many forms including physical loss of sandy beach coastlines and loss of public access to the beach itself. For my first blog post I will be discussing both forms of beach loss and the factors resulting in said loss.
The first form of beach loss I’d like to discuss is the physical loss of the sandy beach coastline. Coastal erosion and sea level rise are some of the first reasons one might think how a beach can possibly disappear; but from what we’ve learned in class, beaches never stay the same and are at constant change. Although the first two reasons listed above are contributing to this loss, broad beach has greater reasons for the drastic loss of sediment. On major factor of sediment loss in the coastal zone is due to the development of homes within the dune region of a beach, the development resulted in a major loss of natural coastal armoring. To combat this issue, developers decided to create artificial coastal armoring to protect their private investments (homes) but failed to realize the lasting consequences to sea walls, a coastal armoring technique. Overtime the sediment had gradually washed itself away bit by bit, season by season. What is now left is a sliver of the once full glory of Broad Beach.
The second form of beach loss came from an economic standpoint; residents along the Broad Beach Rd. have taken extreme efforts to limit public access to Broad Beach. Along the shoreline there are two official public beach access points along Broad Beach, each of which is poorly advertised and barely visible from the public beach goer. In a sense the residents have created a private enclave along public coastline, the public has the right to access the beach up to the mean high-tide line which is considered a common law. Anything above the mean high-tide line is then considered private property depending on the location. To sum this up, the public has the right to access Broad Beach if they are not trespassing above the high-tide line or onto private property. Residents have used a variety of techniques to discourage visitors to Broad Beach, most of which include limiting visual and physical access to the coastline.
I had managed to find one of the public access points and was able to snap a couple photos of the diminishing coastline.
El Pescador Beach
By: Kylie Lesko
Last weekend I visited El Pescador Beach in Northern Malibu. A dirt trail and stairs provide access to the beach from PCH. There is a small parking lot and parking is also available on PCH. The stairs leading to the sand are becoming worn down over time from the weather, tide, and foot traffic over time. El Pescador is one of my favorite beaches that I have been visiting regularly for years. As time goes by I have noticed the sea level continue to rise higher as I notice the visible sand decreasing. There are properties on the beach that are getting closer and closer to the sea. A lot of houses have staircases down to the beach which are getting closer and closer to the waves. Because of the location of these properties, when visiting the beach it is easy to think about climate change and sea level rise. This is a small beach with rocks on both sides separating it from the other beaches. These rocks are full of crabs, sea enememes, and sea shells. I also saw three dolphins in the water swimming together. When visiting El Pescador this most recent time I focused on observing it through an environmental lens. Because it is the end of summer and the beaches have high traffic this time of year, I noticed a lot of trash on the sand. There were a lot of beer can/bottles, food/snack wrappers, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, etc. My friends and I pick up trash whenever we go to the beach so we tried to pick up as much as we could. I think more beach cleanups are necessary during the summer months when the beaches are so busy. This is one of my favorite beaches because it does not get as busy as the other beaches on PCH. It is a peaceful and makes it easy to focus on the nature surrounding you because there are not as many people there. El Pescador is a great beach to relax at if you want to avoid the crowds and focus on the scenery surrounding you.
The beach I visited is Robert Meyer Memorial State Beach which I found out is made up of “pocket beaches” along the city of Malibu. These beaches are known as hidden jems around Malibu but can be crowded during the summer. These pocket beaches are surrounded by million-dollar homes in Western Malibu. Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach is made up of three pocket beaches, I visited all of them as I made my way down the Pacific coast highway.
Pocket beaches are and formed between headlands in coves of rocky shorelines. The shape of a pocket beach is determined by the formation of the surrounding bedrock and the forces of waves, currents and tides also determine the type and amount of sediment deposited. Out of the three , I first visited El Matador State Beach which I found by following the long dirt trail to this rocky beach. Here I found great ocean views and sea caves. Next was La Piedra State Beach, what amazed me at this beach was the sandstone cliffs and reefs all around. Lastly was El Pescador State Beach, this is the spot for surfers who want the unpopular spots. There’s plenty of open space within this cove which makes it feel like you’re in your own little world. Surprisingly, all of these pocket beaches seemed to be spotless with very little trash because the people and county do everything possible to keep the world famous beaches clean for the community and visitors to enjoy
The beach I enjoyed the most was El Pescador State Beach because it was considerably less crowded than the neighboring beaches. Exploring this beach I found it has nice soft sand and some rocky areas with tide pools to explore. The goal of my visit was to find a new place that I can routinely come to and just have it be known as the “spot”. That way in the future Im not always contemplating which beach to come to in Malibu, and i think with El Pescador State Beach I have found my “spot”. Its hard to find but the beach is quite and the waves are huge and if you want a beach to your self this is the place.
Usually when you plan your beach trip, you would grab the beach essentials so you can maximize the level of comfort for you at the beach. A towel, blanket, sunscreen, snacks, water; what I call the essential. The beach is a place to invite friend to go throw a football hang out play in the sand…. That is of course if there is sand. But if there isn’t sand then what do you do? Is a beach even considered a beach without sand? Well thats complicated… but why would anyone label a beach, a “beach”, if it doesn’t have any sand? Well there is a beach that really makes you ask these questions. A “beach” that is not to far away from us, that has no sand and is ironically named… “Broad Beach.”
The beach is anything but broad. For most of the year the water at broad beach covers the entire beach, up to the “sea-wall” that was put into place in the last 10 years to protect the houses from flooding. On occasion, sometimes in the year, when the tide is low, you might be lucky to walk on this beach and touch “dry” sand, but I would be careful to put your towel and belongings down for the the tide may just decide to rise suddenly washing everything you own away. So why call it broad beach? Well broad beach about 20 years ago used to fit the name given and was “broad”, with public access and towels drawn out all along the shore. People would run up and down and have all the entertainment that a huge beach would provide. However this is not the case for the beach today as it has become a victim to the warming planet and sea-level rise.
Broad beach is one of the first beaches in California to be taken out by sea-level rise. Although the California sea level rise in California isn’t causing a huge news cycle or isn’t causing “crazy” flooding or taking out cities it has been super destructive to beach habitats and threatens the homes that reside on shore. Case and point is broad beach. If you go there today you will be treated by a giant seawall along the shore in front of every home (see photos). You would never imagine that this beach had dry sand that stretch all across and that before, the water was no where near the houses. For reference check out the neighboring beach of Zuma, in Malibu, (below). A beach that if any one has been through has vast amount of room.
Broad beach has been one of the Californian coast case example of modern day sea level rise and there are many debates today on what the city of Malibu should do to help mitigate the rise in sea level. For now all they can do is wait and see the beach that was once broach become covered with water.. and If you don’t believe me you should go check it out your self. It is about 30 minutes away from CSU Channel Island campus going south on the PCH. Might be hard to get to being that there are a bunch of homes in the way and given that there is a massive wall keeping the water and the public “off the sand”. But when you do find the small entrance (see below), go out and try to enjoy the beach. Its really shocking. However, I don’t recommend making a big day out of it, your stuff might get wet!
Zuma, Beach Neighbor to Broad Beach
For my first blog post, I’ll be writing about my experience at the Ventura Harbor Beaches from a weekend ago. I participated in the Coastal Clean-up day at the Ventura Harbor branch. The lens’ I’d consider this beach visit to be seen through are environmental and community-oriented. Once every year, there is this coastal clean-up day in which anyone who wants to help out the environment can show up and help clean the beach of any trash or rubbish lying around. I believe this annual tradition is a great practice for several reasons; it can be argued that our beaches contribute immensely to our culture, tourism rates, environment, etc. and it’s largely important, therefore, to keep our ocean environments as clean as we can.
Being that the beach was part of a harbor, the area that was designated in our clean-up was not all sandy land. The coast actually collapses inward towards the docks and leaves no shore. Despite there not being any shore, there was still a copious amount of trash that could be found in the rocks leading down to the water including, but not limited to, foam, paper, plastic, bottles, etc. Although it’s not everyone’s first idea of a “beach”, it’s still important to make sure those areas of our coastline are not left dirty.
In my experience, I found the bulk of the trash from the dune-like figures that were scattered towards the back of the beach. I believe I was able to find more trash located among these dunes because of the vegetation that was growing on them. The vegetation on these dunes seemingly operate like a trap, confining any trash that gets blown their way, especially smaller pieces of plastic and foam (go figure!). In addition to combating the effects of high velocity winds and erosion, it seems that the vegetation on these dunes are also quite good at catching trash.
To conclude, The beach clean-up I engaged in really contributes to the overall well being of our community (and any other communities that participated) because of the beach’s effects on things like our economy, culture, tourism, and environment, to name a few. With the help of everyone who participates, we get one step closer to preserving something definitely needs to be preserved.
A picture of myself on the day of the coastal clean-up with my bag of trash!