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We're Losing Orange County's Beaches

By now you know, Surfrider is very concerned about sea level rise! All across the country, coastlines and coastal communities are becoming increasingly threatened and damaged by sea level rise, coastal erosion, and inappropriate development. Federal, state and local policy reform is sorely needed to discourage coastal armoring and protect natural shorelines through restoration, managed retreat, coastal planning, and the use of living shorelines. This is ESSENTIAL, not only to maintain important coastal habitats but also to ensure that our coastal recreational opportunities persist into the future. Indeed, sea level rise threatens to drown our waves, shrink our beaches, bleach our reefs and so much more.

That’s why, last week, representatives from the Surfrider Foundation and the Surfrider Foundation South Orange County and Newport Beach chapters joined a roundtable discussion on the environment with Congressman Harley Rouda, who represents District 48 – to discuss this important topic. Congressman Rouda is a Democratic new elected official who unseated incumbent Republican Dana Rohrbacher in the 2018 race. We were very pleased that he was extremely receptive to our concerns about climate change and sea level rise. We plan to continue the discussion with Congressman Rouda and we’ll be back with an update on this in the future.

This winter, Southern California, and Orange County especially, has experienced acute erosion due to storms and swell and it’s going to require a thoughtful plan to deal with. Orange County does not have a certified local coastal program (LCP) for several segments of the coastline with the California Coastal Commission. None of the certified LCP segments have been comprehensively updated since the ‘80s.

The lack of long-term planning for the County’s beaches is evident now more than ever as we are forced to make haphazard responses to erosion. Capistrano Beach recently lost it's boardwalk to erosion and San Onofre State Beach is still working on how to protect public access to the park and whether to retain the emergency seawall.

Here’s what’s happening at Capistrano Beach

San Onofre State Beach is also experiencing acute erosion

Our standard response to erosion cannot be hard armoring or we will lose our beaches. Sign our action alert now and ask the California Coastal Commission to continue pushing for strong coastal preservation policies! You can always contact your local elected officials and let them know this is an issue that concerns you too!