Newport Beach, California

The West Coast is experiencing unprecedented erosion on many of its beaches, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report published this week in the journal “Nature Communications.” Scientists examined coastal changes at 29 beaches across Washington, Oregon and California, finding that the 2015-2016 El Nino caused unprecedented erosion. We discuss the findings and what can be done to protect California’s coastal areas.

More Information:

Extreme Oceanographic Forcing and Coastal Response Due to the 2015-2016 El Niño (Nature Communications)

Worst Erosion in 150 Years Hits California Beaches, Report Finds 17 February,2017Mina Kim

Patrick Barnard, coastal geologist, U.S. Geological Survey Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center
Lesley Ewing, senior coastal engineer, California Coast Commission San Francisco Office

  • Paul

    How is Charles Lester doing these days?
    Has the California Coastal Commission resolved its recent scandal over his ouster or is that ongoing and poisoning morale?
    Would the Commission have handled the erosion crisis better if it hadn’t been distracted by a petty internal drama?
    Is there any chance Vinod Khosla’s home will be washed into the sea?


    Beaches erosion is just part of the dynamic nature of the weather and it’s interaction with the ocean, what we need to do to reduce the erosion take the experience of ancient Egyptians who built high giant solid walls at the areas of erosion, many lasted for several thousands years.

  • B_Waldo

    Learn from the Dutch Sandmotor!

  • Paul

    Why do all taxpayers have to pay to protect just a minority of people’s real estate??

    • Commnt8r

      It’s not just homeowners there. California coastline is all public, and should be, which is why Vinod Khosla has been fighting so long. And it’s not private real estate – it’s part of the state’s commons and environment.

      • Kevin Skipper

        Again, I must second Paul’s question. Those beach communites are well-known to keep a pretty tight hold on their tax dollars.
        Insular communites that make sure to send their local police after ANYONE who’s unfamiliar or not contributing directly to the property values of the upper-middle class neighborhoods that are ubiquitous around ‘public’ beaches.

      • Hillary Clintub

        So does that mean if erosion eats up the public’s portion of the coast line and not the private parts, the public is the loser? Sounds to me like buying potential beachfront property in Arizona or Nevada for after the “Big One” hits. C’mon erosion!

    • Hillary Clintub

      Socialism. Same reason all taxpayers have to pay to provide just a minority of people’s health care.

  • Kevin Skipper

    LOL. Jah land is pushing y’all out! De-gentrifiaction. I support the ocean’s activities.

    BTW. All beach communities deal with this. Lanikai Beach in Kailua, HI. Seabright Beachcliffs in Santa Cruz. Ocean Beach and Pacifica nearby. Just a reminder that the wealthy get no passes when it comes to nature.

  • Paul

    Coastal and inland environment regulators have put huge emphasis on stream and river clarity. Stream and river sedimentation has been demonized as “…one of the worst assaults on our waterways…”. We’ve all seen the haybails, soil barriers and blankets installed at construction sites to reduce this sedimentation from entering streams & rivers.

    Ironically those so called “terrible, 20th century” dams in California have held back natural sedimentation & erosion from upland watersheds. aiding our penchant for clear waterways. But let’s face the truth too, that these dams have reduced killer floods, provided non-GHG/non-climate-affecting energy, and water during droughts. The US Forest Service and Calif Dept of Water Resources have gone to great lengths to reduce sedimentation & erosion from entering rivers & streams, and millions of tax $$ is spent on this effort.

    So what the heck can we do? We can’t have it both ways, folks ! We can’t keep saying NO to non-GHG renewable energy projects by constantly litigating against wind & solar on our open lands, deserts & mountaintops ! Likewise, we can’t expect our cherished beaches to be replenished if we are so rigorous about minimizing river & stream sedimentation. Clean water is essential – most fish need clean water, and so do humans. So I get that, but this is clearly an either-or dilemma.

  • Hillary Clintub

    Wake me up when the erosion gets to be worse than it’s been in a 150 MILLION years. I’ll start to worry then.


Mina Kim

Mina Kim is KQED News’ evening anchor and the Friday host of Forum. She reports on a wide range of issues affecting the Bay Area and interviews newsmakers, local leaders and innovators.

Mina started her career in public radio at KQED as an intern with Pacific Time. When the station began expanding its local news coverage in 2010, she became a general assignment reporter, then health reporter for The California Report. Mina’s award-winning stories have included on-the-scene reporting of the 2014 Napa earthquake and a series on gun violence in Oakland.

Her work has been recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association.

Mina grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Oak Park, CA. She lives in Napa.

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