Prop 68 Climate Resilience Miniseries Episode 8: BEACON Sediment Management Pilot Program
(Intro to the series here)
“I’m excited to shorten the distance between the science that we all support and the actual way that we apply it to our restoration projects” – Marc Beyeler
Today we are in Ventura, California visiting the Surfer’s Point Dune Restoration Site which is an exemplary case study of sediment management, restoration, and managed retreat. Adjacent to this dune restoration site is an area that has experienced extensive erosion with remnants of bike pathways, parking lots, and sewage plumbing from decades past now eroded, exposed, and part of the beach landscape. This stark contrast provided a nice visual representation of the problem (beach erosion) facing much of California’s coast juxtaposed to one of the many solutions (managed retreat).
The Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment (BEACON) is a Joint Powers Authority whose members include the Counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura as well as the coastal cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, Ventura, Oxnard and Port Hueneme, covering 144 miles of coastline. BEACON seeks to keep important sediment within the coastal watershed that would otherwise be hauled to a disposal site. To increase coastal resilience to erosion and sea level rise impacts, BEACON works to plan and implement projects that include sediment management, beach nourishment, and beach and dune restoration.
The final design of two pilot sediment deposition projects near Goleta and Carpinteria beaches will be informed by the best available science. Building on past work, the project team will collect relevant data, conduct scientific assessments, and develop protocols to apply to the pilot program.
“The main thing we hope to find are pathways to use the maximum amount of sediment which would otherwise get to the beach except for the impairments that we’ve created,” says Marc Beyeler, Executive Director of BEACON. “I’m really excited about this project because I think it gets missed a lot about how connected our creeks, rivers, and our watersheds are to our beaches and our coasts,” adds Nick Sadrpour who, through California Sea Grant, is acting as the stakeholder convener and leading the coordination of agency partners, regulators, and non-profit and community-based organizations on behalf of the BEACON project to ensure alignment and collaboration.
“The approach to handling erosion and restoring beaches has to be adapted to the specific site constraints…we have to be very careful and thoughtful of what we do, where, and when,” notes Paul Jenkin from the Surfrider Foundation. Surfrider has been a long-term partner on these projects leading much of the stewardship opportunities at these various BEACON project sites. “Californians face important choices and one choice is to plan for the future in a proactive manner,” says Beyeler.
To learn more about this project, check out this video!
- BEACON Website
- BEACON Blog Post on California Sea Grant Website
- Saving Beaches by Planning for Sand Blog Post
- Surfrider Foundation – Santa Barbara Website
- Surfrider Foundation – Ventura Website
Credits: Video Production, Editing, and Narration: Kat Beheshti
About Marc Beyeler: Marc is the Executive Director of BEACON. Marc is also Principal of MBA Consultants and a Lecturer affiliated with the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Environmental Studies Department. Marc received his BA in Sociology and MA in Public Affairs from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
About Nick Sadrpour: Nick is a Program Coordinator at California Sea Grant. Nick was a California Sea Grant State Fellow with the California Ocean Protection Council in 2015, during which he helped kick off OPC’s Proposition 1 grants, which led to funding of the Cardiff Beach Living Shoreline Project. He additionally helped administer OPC’s Proposition 84 projects, including those that involved dune restoration and sediment management (e.g. Borderfield State Park). He currently helps support BEACON’s Science Advisory Committee to identify and prioritize research needs for the Santa Barbara Littoral Cell.
About Paul Jenkin: Paul is the Ventura Campaign Coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation. Paul has been with the Surfrider Foundation for 27 years. He received his BS in Ocean Engineering from Texas A&M University at Galveston and his MS in Ocean Engineering from Florida Atlantic University.
About the Author: Dr. Kathryn Beheshti is a 2021 California Sea Grant State Fellow with the Ocean Protection Council’s Climate Change Program. Kat’s own research focuses on understanding the drivers of loss and recovery of key coastal foundation species (e.g. salt marsh plants and seagrasses). Kat is committed to making science accessible to individuals of all ages and demographics. She hosts her own science communication platform, sloughit.com and participates in an interdisciplinary science communication team at SciAll.org, where she is a Lead Vlogger.