Pillar Point Sand Restoration Project


September 13, 2023

The Commission approved a sand restoration project at Surfers Beach in Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay. The project will beneficially reuse 100,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from the inside of the harbor breakwater and deposit it along a 1,000-foot-long section of shoreline. The project involves an eel grass restoration plan inside the Harbor and though not required in the permit, the Harbor has also indicated it plans to undergo a surf monitoring program. Surfers Beach has experienced ongoing erosion due to the harbor breakwater, constructed in 1961. The beach is also backed by shoreline armoring and Highway 1. The beach fill project represents a potential for improvement in public access and recreation opportunities over the short and medium term, but a long term solution as sea levels rise is still needed.

Why You Should Care

The overengineering and hardening of the California coastline has had drastic impacts on beaches and coastal habitats. As seas rise, better long term solutions are needed, such as reengineering the Harbor and relocating the highway inland out of harm's way to restore the coast. Beach fill projects can be helpful to restore beaches, but their effectiveness is limited. Projects that pilot recurring nourishments over time should be closely monitored to understand their true costs and benefits.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

Commissioners remarked on the importance of the monitoring conditions.

Organizations Opposed

Decision Type

Coastal Development Permit

Staff Recommendation

Approval with conditions

Coastal Act Policy