At around the time that Mull was pushing his plan, SF State assistant professor Phil King was pioneering the field of shoreline economics. King assesses the economic value of sandy urban beaches. And why not? Millions of people pack picnics, don swimsuits, and "consume" them. He combined his analysis with assessments of built property nearby, and estimates of costs for battling erosion. He has advised cities up and down the West Coast, but not San Francisco. Nonetheless, in February, he will release an independent research paper that applies his analysis to beaches in Monterey and San Francisco. "We have found nourishment, which is adding sand to the beach, can be an effective way to mitigate against storm damage and sea level rise," he says.

King identified Mull's technique as the most cost-effective way to solve San Francisco's erosion problem — but nobody in charge seems to know this. It might sound anti-intuitive at first. Isn't it a bit like trying to plug a leaky bucket by pouring water into it? But it's actually more like protecting a house from the weather with periodic coats of paint. Beach erosion cycles tend to calm down after enough sand is added to create offshore sand bars and on-beach bluffs.

SPUR had not incorporated King's research into the Ocean Beach master plan project when I spoke with Grant last week. Mull hadn't talked with him either.

Instead, San Francisco has merely been fortunate that an academic expert independently took on the task of confirming the viability of this win-win solution.

In the future, San Francisco will doubtless build more stupid infrastructure. People will bicker endlessly. Politicians will close their eyes.

Myself, I'll pray that somehow residents step up with solutions and we stay lucky.

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Dom Antonini
Dom Antonini

Keep at it Pete.. And keep up the good work my friend!

 
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