California town considers drastic measures to prevent cliff erosion

Uncategorized By Mar 08, 2023

Del Mar, a coastal town in California, is looking into extreme solutions to prevent cliff erosion caused by recent storms and sea level rise. The issue poses a significant risk to homes and infrastructure in the area, so experts have been enlisted to explore possible solutions to combat the problem. The council is looking into several options, including adding wave attenuators or breakwaters, hauling in sand to create a buffer or managed retreat – moving homes and infrastructure from areas under threat of erosion. However, residents are resistant to the idea of moving their homes.

California Town Considers Drastic Measures to Prevent Cliff Erosion

In the town of Del Mar, California, officials are considering extreme measures to prevent cliff erosion. The issue has become increasingly urgent with recent storms and sea level rise causing significant damage to homes and infrastructure near the beach. The town has enlisted the help of experts to explore solutions to prevent further erosion and protect the homes and businesses in the area.

Understanding the Gravity of the Situation

Del Mar, a picturesque coastal town located north of San Diego, boasts a gorgeous coastline that draws thousands of tourists annually. However, the cliffs that provide stunning views and are home to million-dollar homes are quickly eroding, making the area increasingly vulnerable to landslides and property damage. The problem has been exacerbated by rising sea levels, which is causing waves to more frequently hit the cliffs, leading to more erosion.

Del Mar’s city council has taken the matter into their own hands, working alongside engineers and seeking the advice of some of the top experts in coastal resilience. They have launched a multi-million dollar program to study the mechanisms behind the erosion and to find solutions to combat it effectively.

Proposed Solutions

To deal with the ongoing problem of cliff erosion, the town council is considering several solutions, including some costly and controversial options.

One solution is adding crested wave attenuators or submerged breakwaters. These would break up larger waves and redirect the energy into the surf zone where it dissipates, rather than crashing into the shore relentlessly. The downside is that these structures could obstruct beach access and do little to stop the slow and steady dissolution of the cliffs.

Another solution is to haul in sand and redirect sand from the nearby San Diego River to the beach to create a temporary buffer against the encroaching ocean. While less permanent, this option requires continuous effort and the sand needs replenishing periodically.

The final and most controversial option is called ‘managed retreat’. This approach involves moving homes, businesses or other infrastructure away from the area under threat, essentially allowing the coastline to retreat naturally. Many residents are understandably resistant to the idea of leaving their homes, but experts warn that it may be the most practical solution given the severity and inevitability of the erosion.


Q: What is causing the cliff erosion?

A: The combination of rising sea levels and intensified storm waves is causing the cliffs to erode faster.

Q: Why is the town considering drastic measures?

A: Del Mar is at risk of significant damage to homes and infrastructure near the beach.

Q: What is ‘managed retreat’?

A: Managed retreat is moving homes or infrastructure away from areas under threat of severe coastal erosion to allow the coastline to retreat naturally.

Q: How do the proposed solutions work?

A: The proposed solutions include adding crested wave attenuators, hauling in sand to create a buffer, and managed retreat.

Q: What are the downsides of each proposed solution?

A: Adding crested wave attenuators or submerged breakwaters could obstruct beach access, while hauling in sand requires continuous effort and periodic replenishing. Managed retreat requires residents to leave their homes and businesses.