Rincon Beach – Waterfront Homes

I’m lucky enough to have a friend with a beach house. I don’t necessarily tell her that beach houses are pretty bad investments right now, all things considered, but I’m happy to use it in the mean time. Her beach house happens to be beach front…like really beachfront. The back gate is approximately 20 feet from the waterline, depending on the time of day. But it’s not a straight shoot – there’s a hulking pile of rocks (a.k.a riprap) in between. It’s pretty easy to see why the riprap is there. The waterline is fast approaching the houses while the sand erodes below them.

Rincon Beach Riprap

Apparently, there used to be stairways staggered along the rocks, but they recently had to be demolished to allow for more riprap. Remnants of the stairs, as well, as exposed pipes from who knows what, can be seen in the photo above. What the photo doesn’t really convey is the fact that the trail and property in the right of the photo are about five feet below the height of the riprap, meaning these houses are barely five feet above the waterline.

It’s obvious that these houses, along with many others along the coast, are not going to survive the risings seas. But, because their inhabitants have money (which translates to power), the government has to subsidize the protection of their assets. The homeowners association had to pay a nominal amount to bring in another shipment of rocks, while the rest is funded by taxpayers. All for a band-aid solution.

These houses are worth millions but are mostly vacation/secondary homes. The people who own these houses would not be destitute by any means, if something were to happen to their property. Like Broad Beach in Malibu, measures like these will only last “for now.” It’s a stick your head in the sand (no pun intended) mentality. I don’t know if there are any solutions to this situation that would protect both economic and environmental interests, but my friend should probably unload her beach house soon.

5 thoughts on “Rincon Beach – Waterfront Homes

  1. amanda.medrano575 says:

    This was a very interesting post! I haven’t seen any homes on the beachfront up close like this and it’s interesting to see the effects of erosion up front. Has your friend expressed any concern over this?

    • tess.davidsonhenney735 says:

      Hi, Amanda! Thank you for reading and commenting. So my friend’s family made their money from oil engineering. Their politics are completely different than mine so we tend to stay away from anything controversial to maintain our friendship. My friend sees the writing on the wall with climate change and moving away from reliance on fossil fuels. She’s looking to divest her interest in the family business in the next five years because of her beliefs. The rest of her family is stubborn and doesn’t believe in climate change or renewable energy. I don’t believe they’ll do anything about their beach house until their ground floor is three feet underwater.

  2. christine.hujing332 says:

    This was an interesting posts a definitely not the approach I was expecting on this post; however I really enjoyed it. I feel that now since taking this class, there are things that are standing out to all of us, that we never would have noticed previously regarding beach homes or the beach in general. For example, previously I would see the rocks (riprap) and think ugh what a bummer to ruin their beach home with rocks instead of it just being sand. I literally never thought that those rocks served a purpose, I thought they just ended up there? Now when I see that picture of the beach homes with exposed pipes, a staircase that didn’t survive erosion, all I can think is, “yikes” because it is only a matter of time before those houses themselves feel the direct impact of erosion. But I thought this was a great post that really demonstrated the material that we have learned in class and you applied it to your blog post. Awesome job.

    • tess.davidsonhenney735 says:

      Thanks, Christine. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I had the exact same observations about riprap before taking this class! I guess I thought it washed up like that, too. It makes me wonder when they started utilizing the riprap for erosion in this particular area. Was there a wide beach there 30 years ago when the houses were built? Maybe it’s a frog in a boiling pot type of mindset with the homeowners – it’s eroded slowly enough that they don’t notice the change. I totally agree with the “yikes.” It seems so apparent once you have a little education about the workings of beaches.

  3. Tanya says:

    This was a very entertaining read – it’s difficult to make coastal erosion and sea level rise humorous! I think it’s so scary and so cool that we get to see firsthand how the coasts are changing. We can witness the effects of sea level rise happening within driving distance, and it’s interesting to see how we are dealing with it. And you’re right, a lot of these “solutions” are Band-aid fixes for much more serious problems, and I hope people realize that they will be running out of land faster than they can throw money at it.
    Also, the dog in the second picture is super cute.

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