Unofficial Harbor District committee tackles complex issue of beach erosion at Princeton Harbor

An unofficial subcommittee of the Harbor District, called PIllar Point Shoreline Erosion Committee and chaired by Commissioner Sabrina Brennan, met recently in its inaugural meeting to look at the problems of erosion of Surfer’s Beach and other parts of  the Princeton harbor area. It’s a big topic with many competing interests.

We have the meeting on video for you–thank you to Neil Merrilees for manning the camera at this important event.

Commissioner Brennan released a report out of the meeting–if only all local governments would do this–that summarizes the discussion and suggests action items for the future. Here is the original agenda.


Pillar Point Harbor Shoreline Erosion Committee


Date: Wed. May 29, 2013
Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Location: Half Moon Bay Yacht Club

Goals of the PPH Shoreline Erosion Committee:

  • Education
  • Public Access
  • Emergency Access
  • Government Transparency

Meeting was attended by:

  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • SMC Surfrider Foundation
  • SMC County Parks and Recreation Commissioner
  • Coastside Business owners from Princeton, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, Pacifica,and Half Moon Bay
  • Boat owners with slips at Oyster Point Marina and Pillar Point Harbor
  • Midcoast Community Council members
  • Granada Sanitary District member
  • Half Moon Bay Yacht Club members
  • San Mateo Association of Realtors (SAMCAR) member
  • Sierra Club members
  • Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce members
  • Redwood City business ownersAnnouncement about upcoming Resource Conservation District meeting:

• Resource Conservation District will hold a meeting to present results of the Pillar Point Harbor Fecal Contamination study on Sat. June 8th 10:00am at the HMB Yacht Club


  • Surfer’s Beach Erosion
  • Boat Launch Ramp Dredging/Perched Beach
  • West Shoreline Access Erosion

o Link to West Shoreline Access presentation:

• Princeton Shoreline Erosion


Surfer’s Beach has eroded away due to the outer breakwater configuration and past Highway 1 emergency riprap armoring.

Mark Bierman of the Army Corps of Engineers commented that reconfiguring the breakwater would be over the $5 million dollar budget that Congress has authorized for the Corps. The Corps is looking for a smaller scale solution.

• The Army Corps of Engineers has not yet set a date to present the public with the shoreline erosion study results or an update on the study.

Public comment: Install a culvert through the outer breakwater and pump sand through a dreg pipe placed in the culvert. This would cost under $5 million dollars.

Discussion about dredged sand being placed on Perched Beach and applying for a permit to place boat launch ramp dredged sand elsewhere.

Public comment: Engage the Harbor District’s board of commissioners and request that they apply for a permit to place the dredged sand on beaches that need replenishment along West Shoreline Access and the Princeton shoreline.

Public comment: The Harbor District should be encouraged to use the dredged sand where it’s needed, instead of where it won’t be of use.

The committee agreed unanimously to request that the SMC Harbor District make this Citizens Advisory Committee for Pillar Point Harbor Shoreline Erosion an official committee of the SMC Harbor District

The committee agreed unanimously that the Harbor District should identify and gain approvals of new dredge disposal sites with priority given to beach nourishment where it is urgently needed.

The committee agreed unanimously that the Harbor District bring 2012 West Shoreline Access Erosion Study forward for discussion of alternatives and a plan for action.


  1. Request Harbor District board approval to form an official Harbor District Shoreline Erosion Committee
  2. Identify and gain approvals of new dredge disposal sites with priority given to beach nourishment where it is urgently needed.
  3. Bring the 2012 PPH West Shoreline Access Trail erosion study forward for discussion of alternatives and plan for action.