Surfrider Foundation San Diego County recognizes beaches as a public resource held in the public trust. Beaches provide affordable recreational access available to everyone. As human activities and development in coastal areas increase, preservation of these areas becomes more important. Increasingly, coastal development poses a threat to our naturally dynamic shoreline. Protecting development has become a priority over protecting the shoreline and beaches. This policy establishes the Chapter’s position on the preservation and restoration of San Diego County’s natural beaches, wavecut platforms, nearshore environment, and sandstone bluffs. The policy goal is preservation of San Diego’s remaining natural coastline and restoration of the coast to its natural, unarmored state, including the landward migration of the shoreline due to the natural geology of the San Diego coast and sea level rise.
- A long term Planned Retreat policy that would allow interim protection of existing development coupled with gradual acquisition of property for expansion of Public Trust and Park Lands. This will allow for a natural retreat of the coastline ensuring continued beach formation.
- Development of regulatory policies, which ensure adequate setbacks such that new development will not require shoreline protection within the useful economic life of the structure when subjected to natural erosion and accounting for sea level rise.
- Charging Lease and Recreation Impact Fees for the interim use of Public Trust and Park Lands for Seawalls and other such devices used to protect existing development.
- Beach replenishment projects that bring properly sized and constituted sand to San Diego County. These projects are strictly for strategic periodic maintenance, and should not be the cornerstone of the coastal management policy of San Diego County. Projects should provide maximum benefit for the beach going public, taking into account all natural and recreational resource impacts. Where necessary, such environmental impacts will be mitigated in their entirety
- The Permanent use of Public Trust or Park Land to build seawalls and other such structures. Seawalls and other structures built on a naturally eroding coastline subject to sea level rise will destroy recreational access and nearshore environment.
- The construction of any form of permanent, hard structure as a means for retaining sandy beaches in San Diego County. Temporary shoreline protection projects may be supportable given a set of strict conditions.
- The construction of permanent artificial reef projects for the purpose of retaining sand. Given predictions of accelerated sea level rise, the effectiveness of a reef’s design will be short lived.
- Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter will strive to work with public agencies to implement or modify Local Coastal Plans and General Plans for consistency with this policy.
- Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter will work on regional projects that restore natural sediment flow to the shoreline.
- Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter will oppose projects that use public lands for private purposes without just compensation to the public.
- Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter will oppose projects that adversely impact recreation, access to the coast and surfing and other water-oriented recreational activities.
Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter’s policy is consistent with Sections 30210, 30211, 30212, 30220, 30221 of the Coastal Act and Section 4 of Article X of the California Constitution in promoting free and open access to the coastline.