Dunes as a Storm Buffer

Pierpont Beach and San Buenaventura Beach in Ventura are fascinating and rare beaches for southern California beach – there is too much sand on the beaches. This is not a problem for most of the beaches we have in California as most of them are relatively small. On both the neighboring, Pierpont and San Buenaventura, you can see these high dunes for miles. Many homes are lining Pierpont that are protected from storms by these dune systems. However, the excess sand can be an annoyance to the residents. They have to have the sand taken off the beach every couple of months because it blows into the streets and in their homes. The dunes are the only line of defense between the ocean and these homes, but you can understand the inconvenience to the residents. The city of Ventura has to come in twice a year to remove sand from the beaches because the dunes get too high.

San Buenaventura has an equal amount of sand on its side of the beach. There is a closed-off nesting habitat for western snowy plovers located in the enormous dunes. These threatened shorebirds need the dunes to nest, and by closing them off, the State Parks Service has created an environment where the chicks can survive. A lot of sediment gets onto Pierpont and San Buenaventura from the Ventura River. The Matilija Dam that is in Ojai blocks sediment from flowing down the river. Usually, dams make it, so beaches are smaller in width, but since this beach is already extensive, it will be interesting to see what will happen to the beach when the dam is taken out. The Matilija Dam is set to be taken out in the near future. The beach is so wide already, and once it comes out, I expect that the beach will be so much longer. There are groins on both Pierpont and San Buenaventura that will be rendered useless when the dam is removed because so much sediment will come down from the Ventura River that the water line will start a lot further down.

Drone with western snowy plover habitat in the background
Pierpont Beach Dunes

2 thoughts on “Dunes as a Storm Buffer

  1. Ventrone says:

    I really like how you looked at things from the nature aspect and the residents aspect. It shows that you are well rounded in your ability to see multiple points of view.

  2. Pearson-Gomez says:

    Hi, really interesting blog post. I used to live in Silverstrand in Oxnard and I remember every weekend people would be out on their driveway sweeping the sand away from their home and on to the streets. I always thought, why bother?Tomorrow a new pile of sand will be blown on to their driveway and they will have to start all over again. I was also unaware that they have to remove sand from areas in Ventura County. I guess it is better to have too much sand than not enough.

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