A Small Community's Response to Catastrophic Coastal Bluff Erosion

by Donald C. Tuttle, Humboldt County Dep of Public Works, Eureka, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


This paper describes the actions taken by a small unincorporated coastal community in Northern California during a series of catastrophic bluff erosional events, which occurred between December 1982 and July 1985. Immediately following the initation of the bluff erosion the Board adopted a cabin relocation policy and prepared a master cabin relocation site plan which was submitted for review and approval to the California Coastal Commission and the Humboldt County Planning Commission. A policy decision was made at the beginning by the Board and membership not to seek any governmental assistance for construction of a sea wall. During the main erosional event in the last week of June 1985, eight cabins were moved back from the bluff which retreated about 50 feet along a 700 foot portion of the shoreline in about six days. The total cost of moving eight cabins, constructing new foundations, septic tanks, leachfields, rewiring and replumbing each cabin, installing new water lines and constructing new access roads totaled about 140,000. It is estimated it would have cost approximately 850,000 to place a rock type sea wall along the base of the bluff.

Subject Headings: Erosion | Disasters and hazards | Sea walls | Coastal protection structures | Benefit cost ratios | Coastal processes | Public policy | Construction management | California | United States

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