Manhattan Beach Fights Sea-Level Rise With Dune Project

·3 min read

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA — The Manhattan Beach Dune Restoration Project is fighting back against the rising sea level and erosion along the shoreline.

The Bay Foundation has partnered with the city of Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, and California State Coastal Conservancy to implement nature-based protection measures that are both beautiful and cost-effective.

As climate change impacts coastal communities and islands, this effort in Manhattan Beach is the first South Bay community to attempt to restore sandy coastal beach dunes, and the partners hope it will serve as a model for the region and engage the community through enhanced beach experiences, beauty, outreach and education.

“The City of Manhattan Beach is thrilled to be partnering with community groups, agencies, and scientists to make this project a reality,” Mayor Hildy Stern said in a statement.

“With the support of the California State Coastal Conservancy grant funding, we look forward to creating a more resilient and healthy coastline in the South Bay," Stern said. "This is also a great opportunity for residents to volunteer and participate in restoring our beach dunes.”

How to get involved

Community members are invited to join the restoration process by volunteering during public events, including scheduled events on Jan. 21, 28, and 29. February events have not been announced yet but will be shared soon.

Volunteers can sign up on the website: https://www.santamonicabay.org/events/. Events will follow COVID-19 guidelines.

Restoring coastal systems in the South Bay

South Bay beaches are highly impacted by threats such as sea-level rise, erosion, invasive species, and storm events. By restoring these coastal systems, the ability to combat these threats, preserve the beaches, and increase coastal resilience is improved. Resilient beaches help protect infrastructure, recreational activities and homes.

The project will enhance 3.15 acres of existing back dunes along the Manhattan Beach shoreline from 23rd to 26th Street and 28th to 36th Street through the removal of invasive non-native plants and seeding native coastal plants. Some of the native plants include red sand verbena, sea scale, and beach evening primrose, which is the city’s official flower. The Bay Foundation, which has successfully implemented similar projects in Santa Monica and Malibu, will scientifically monitor the site over time, evaluating the change in dune topography and plant cover, among other metrics. The hope for the project is that it will ultimately be a self-sustaining beautiful native dune system that helps the coastline and beaches become more resilient to climate change impacts.

“We are so grateful to our partners, scientists, members of the community, and everyone who provided their time and input to the design process. We are honored to work with the City of Manhattan Beach in their efforts to address climate change,” Karina Johnston, Science Director for The Bay Foundation, said in a statement.

“We hope you will join us at one of our restoration events this month or in the future to help create a beautiful ribbon of life along our shore," Johnston said.

This demonstration site in Manhattan Beach will serve as a model for the region, showing that heavy recreational use of beaches and meaningful habitat restoration are compatible goals. It will show that low-cost, nature-based living shorelines can add protection from sea-level rise and storms, provide the public with beauty and education, and provide benefits to nature, such as supporting native wildlife including invertebrates and shorebirds.

Visit the Bay Foundation and the City of Manhattan Beach websites for more information about the project.

This article originally appeared on the Manhattan Beach Patch

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