Blog Post #3
For my third beach trip, I visited Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura off the 101 on the way to Santa Barbara. Emma Wood State beach is seemingly very popular for locals with great opportunities for surf, sand, relaxation, and even various events like marathons! When the tides are low, you can even go searching through tide pools that may arise. The lens’ I will be using for this blog post write-up are beach ecology and armoring with structural intent.
As far as beach ecology goes, I wanted to mention some of the life I found wandering the beach while I was there. First of all, I was witness to some smaller birds(in one of the pictures) with long bills/beaks (assumedly Curlews?) that were using their long bills to search for food in the sand close to the shore. Running alongside these birds in larger groups were smaller birds (might’ve been sandpipers or a species related to the Curlews, but I’m not positive) that were doing the same thing as the Curlews and foraging for food along the shoreline.
In regards to armoring with structural intent, I’m referring to all of the houses along that sand-line being reinforced with either a wall of concrete, rock, or metal beams(in the other pictures below). The armoring is conducted to keep these houses, and structures in general, safe from anything that might potentially harm them or dwindle the base that they’re built upon. While armoring may be effective for that purpose, it also jeopardizes the beach ecology. While I was still able to see different types of birds, crabs, seaweed, etc., I wonder what the beach would look like without any houses and coastal armoring. In some spots, there was maybe fifteen to twenty feet in between the water and houses; I hope the views are worth any potential future complications to those home owners!
To conclude, my beach trip was assisted well by the things I’ve been learning in class that help be more conscious and thoughtful of what’s around me. While I’m in a beach environment, I think more critically about my surroundings than I have in the past with the knowledge I’ve obtained.
Blog Post #2
For my second beach trip, I recently visited a beach in Port Hueneme by the pier. I visited the beach primarily with a lens relating to education, because on this beach visit, I ran into things that had been previously gone over throughout class. With the previous knowledge being obtained from class, I had a better idea of what was going on at this particular beach.
First of all, the beach I visited had a prime example of coastal armoring, which I’ll include in one of my pictures. Along the beach was a formation of rocks scaling the coast line. Coastal Armoring is put in place with the intention of halting coastal migration which would protect developments, infrastructures, etc., but along the way it can produce some unwanted side effects. Coastal armoring infringes upon and is a threat to the beach ecosystems they inhabit. Armoring can ruin habitats for many species of beach dwelling creatures as well.
Second, I noticed that the beach I was at had sand dunes with vegetation growing out of each of them. The vegetation helps collect and accumulate sand in piles. In addition to the vegetation, wind and wave energy can also help with the production of these sand dunes. One down side to these vegetative sand dunes is that the vegetation acts like a trap to collect trash or anything like it (luckily, while I was there I didn’t see too much trash!).
Third, I noticed the beach had created a small wall of sand along the coastline, which I’ll display in the other picture I have. I’m not exactly sure of the process or condition under which this sand wall was made but aesthetically, it looked pretty cool. One other thing I noticed in regards to this miniature sand wall was that the wall seemed to grow higher as it got closer to the portion of the beach where the armoring took place, so maybe there’s a correlation between those two variables(?).
Lastly, I recognized that right across from the beach I was at was the actual port. We’ve talked previously about how ports are a major source of income and a general benefit for these beach areas and communities.
To conclude, I used my second beach trip as an opportunity to use the information I’ve learned throughout class so far. It was cool being able to recognize these environmental factors and practices and be able to relate them, practically, to the real world.
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!