This past week, candidates for City Council in Del Mar posted a public flyer referencing the Surfrider Foundation and alleging that our advocacy related to fencing and bluff stabilization activity in Del Mar was ‘activated’ by those political candidates.
 
As a 501 c(3), The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter would like to make clear: We did not authorize the use of the Surfrider Foundation’s name in the campaign flyer. Additionally we reject the flyer’s claim  — we were in no way motivated to act on this issue because of Council Candidates Druker or Martinez or Councilmember Gaastaerland.
 
The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter has been independently involved in projects related to the tracks in Del Mar for years, including at an August 2020 Coastal Commission meeting in which a federal consistency determination was made with regards to SANDAG’s emergency repair work along the bluffs in Del Mar in late 2019.  At that meeting, we asked that SANDAG and NCTD’s projects related to bluff armoring be reviewed with a long-term perspective; and with adherence to the Coastal Act, the California Coastal Commission’s authority, and the Coastal Zone Management Act. Our demands included mitigation for armoring the bluffs and the demonstration of a clear commitment to long term track relocation in the face of rising sea level and increased coastal erosion. This position is consistent with our stance on managed retreat.
 
Despite our involvement in the August 2020 Coastal Commission meeting, and despite hosting a public committee meeting in September at which SANDAG representatives presented on track relocation, Surfrider learned of NCTD’s recent petition to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for a declaratory order through a news article.
 
NCTD’s petition requested to bypass local and state review of their activity related to bluff armoring, fencing, double tracking, and evaluation of the need to remove the tracks. The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter responded to this information immediately because we oppose all exemptions from the Coastal Act. We believe that our position is particularly relevant in this case because NCTD’s projects include using land on public beaches and State Tidelands (outside of the railroad’s right-of-way.) 
 
The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter’s response was to request an extension to the comment period on NCTD’s petition, and when that was granted we filed our formal response after the comment deadline was extended. 
 
Additionally, Surfrider supports managed retreat as a long-term solution to the challenges presented by sea level rise and climate change, and we hold that the tracks in Del Mar must be relocated due to these challenges.  Councilmembers Gaasterland and Druker have opposed the concept of managed retreat in Del Mar and were not an influence on our involvement in this issue. We remain anticipatory of the Surface Transportation Board’s decision related to the NCTD petition.