The recent storms that hit the Bay Area took a toll on Crown Memorial State Beach and adjacent Alameda Beach in Alameda, which together provide a 2.5 mile public beach with sand dunes bordering a bicycle trail, managed by the East Bay Regional Park District.
More sand washed away than at this time last year, likely due to a combination of high winds and high tides during the storms, according to park district staff. Long term estimates of sea level rise and the increasing variability in storms due to climate change make the threat of sand beach erosion at this location even a greater concern.
These two beaches, which are owned by the State and City of Alameda are a great achievement of landscaping and engineering, with ongoing maintenance and operation provided by the East Bay Regional Park District.
“Without Park District efforts to maintain the sand beach – at some considerable cost—it would have long since washed away, and likely eroded or severely damaged the long beach front road,” said Park District General Manager Robert E. Doyle.
It is likely that infrastructure, such as roads, bicycle trail, and structures, is threatened if the beach erodes even another 10 or 15 feet and the sand is not replaced.
The Park District is seeking additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for beach sand replacement at Alameda which will serve the public park purpose and protect Shoreline Dr. and ultimately homes from inundation. The District has already spent several hundred thousand dollars of its own funds in staff work, engineering studies and reports to convince FEMA of the need for this sand replacement. The recent devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy in the New Jersey-New York areas has demonstrated the protective abilities of replenished sand and dunes from wind and storm damage in locales fortunate to have such features. In conjunction with FEMA and additional funding from the California Department of Boating and Waterways, the District hopes to undertake a multi-million dollar sand replacement project in 2013.
Severe beach erosion in the 1980s threatened the shoreline beach. After wind and water action had eroded the beach dangerously, it was restored in early 1982 by the Park District, with sand from San Francisco Bay, pumped ashore by pipeline from a barge. More sand has been added since then, and groins have been constructed to keep it in place.
Assistant General Manager,
Planning/Stewardship & Development,