“Save Sloat!” Campaign Wins Crucial Delay



Last night at the weekly board of supervisors meeting at San Francisco’s city hall, coastal advocates from Save The Waves and SF Surfrider joined local residents in a passionate debate with the Department of Public Works (DPW) and 
city supervisors over the use of giant rocks to “armor” the beach 
south of Sloat Boulevard at Ocean Beach.

Led by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who also serves on the California 
Coastal Commission, coastal advocates won a one-week delay of the 
dumping of rocks on the beach to shore up eroding bluffs and protect 
threatened city infrastructure, including the Great Highway and an 
underground sewer tunnel. Recent weather and heavy surf has eaten 
away at the bluffs to create the present emergency, yet the issue has 
been a sore point for city officials, residents and environmentalists 
for almost two decades. In 1999 the Ocean Beach Task Force, made up 
of local residents, community leaders, city agencies, and coastal 
engineering experts, was created to research and recommend long-term 
solutions to the erosion problem of the beach south of Sloat, but 
their task force findings and recommendations have been largely 
ignored by the City for over seven years. This inaction is partly 
responsible for the severe erosion problems and infrastructure risks 
that the City now faces.

San Francisco’s DPW is proposing a $2.6 million-dollar short-term 
solution to dump tons of large boulders on the beach that would be 
trucked in and dumped over the edge of the Great Highway south of 
Sloat Boulevard to protect the base of the bluffs from further 
erosion and wave action.

“We recognize that something needs to be done in the short-term, 
specifically to help protect the sewer tunnel,” says Dean 
LaTourrette, executive director of Save The Waves. “But continuing to 
throw rocks at the ocean in the hopes of changing Mother Nature 
simply doesn’t work – it’s a waste of time and money. Local 
recommendations have been repeatedly ignored and now the City wants 
taxpayers to pay the high financial and environmental price caused by 
their inaction. Long-term solutions based on a managed retreat 
strategy, including the relocation of at-risk infrastructure, as well 
as natural sand bluff restoration, must be initiated immediately.”

This week is crucial in the fight to save Sloat from rock armoring, 
and Save The Waves and SF Surfrider are now teaming up with the Ocean 
Beach Vision Council and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi to find a less 
harmful and more visionary solution to these coastal erosion 
problems. Stay tuned at www.savethewaves.org and follow @SaveTheWaves 
on Twitter to see how you can help.

Save The Waves encourages members of the public to attend the board 
of supervisors meeting at 2pm next Tuesday, February 2 at San 
Francisco’s city hall to voice their support for the long-term vision 
and solutions to the erosion problem at Ocean Beach.

About Save The Waves Coalition: Save The Waves Coalition is a global 
nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the 
coastal environment, with an emphasis on the surf zone, and educating 
the public about its value. Save The Waves is a 501(c)3 non-profit.