Save Pleasure Point from another century of seawalls! Santa Cruz County’s plan to address sea level rise includes a new seawall across the cliffs from 41st to Capitola – effectively dooming our remaining beaches and surf to drown as sea level rises. As sea level rise meets a fixed seawall, it will create permanent high tide conditions for the wave and eventually drown our beaches and waves all together in the coming decades! Absent a seawall, the cliffs would naturally erode and our beaches and waves could persist.
It is time to change the pattern of development along the cliffs and protect our public resources. A brand new seawall all along Opal Cliffs Drive will protect private property but not our beaches and waves. The County needs to come up with a plan that prioritizes protection of our natural resources and recreational opportunities – it is the law. The County’s plan is inconsistent with the California Coastal Act and must be rejected!
Join us on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 9 am at the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting and tell them to save our waves and withdraw the shoreline protection area! Feel free to reach out for more information or help with talking points. Join via zoom or in person to speak on item number 9: see agenda and participation instructions here.
Suggested talking points:
- I strongly encourage the County to withdraw the LCP and come up with a plan for Pleasure Point that will protect our beach and waves over the long term.
- The County’s Shoreline Protection Exception Area (SPEA) protects private property at the expense of public resources. The SPEA will make certain that our beaches and waves drown as seas rise – effectively sacrificing one of California’s iconic surfing waves, beloved by residents and visitors alike.
- The SPEA and the County’s definition of existing development effectively allow seawalls for any new development or major remodels. This is unlawful and completely inconsistent with the California Coastal Act.
Santa Cruz County, which includes the Opal Cliffs community adjacent to Pleasure Point surf break, is currenty updating its local coastal program (LCP) for sea level rise adapation and it includes a number of policies that would perpetuate reliance upon shoreline armoring, effectively drowning already narrow beaches and the waves by fixing the back of the beach/bluffs. Most notably, the County is proposing a Seawall Exception Area that would allow all new development to rely on seawalls, contrary to the Coastal Act provisions.
The draft LCP update has been approved by the board of supervisors and is awaiting review by the California Coastal Commission – the agency responsible for final certification under the Coastal Act. A hearing is scheduled for the October 2022 Coastal Commission meeting. However, given Coastal Commission staff feedback that the County’s plan is inconsistent with the California Coastal Act, the County is considering withdrawing their plan.
Throughout the draft process at the county level, Surfrider’s Santa Cruz chapter had made a number of recommendations which have thus far not been incorporated into the update.
The County should withdraw their plan and resubmit a new plan that protects natural resources and the public trust – our beaches and waves – over the long term from rising seas! They should start an inclusive public outreach process to make sure diverse ocean users have the opportunity to contribute to the new plan.