Are Timber Seawalls that Fail, Cost Effective??Seacliff State Beach Santa Cruz County, California

by Clark H. Muldavin, Dep of Parks and Recreation, Sacramento, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


Proposed reconstruction of a major portion of a 5,100-foot long timber seawall at Seacliff State Beach in Santa Cruz County, California, in 1984, became a major controversy because of a 60-year cycle of damage-repair-damage, including repairs in 1979/80 and 1982. Just after the 1982 repair, the now famous cycle of California storm waves from December 1982 through March 1983, again removed considerable sand and severely damaged the existing just repaired seawall. During 1983 and early 1984, considerable debate took place on whether this continuous cycle of damage-repair at Seacliff State Beach was proper public policy. In early 1984, the State Public Works Board (PWB), a State Capital Outlay 'watch-dog' agency, required the Department of Parks and Recreation to 'confer with storm damage consultants and present a report on an alternate course of action to the Board within four months but prior to any further funding being approved for repairs.' Some of the alternatives discussed in the report included abandoning all or parts of Seacliff State Beach, natural systems approach, construction of a 'fail safe' concrete wall structure and continued repair of the timber seawall. After considerable debate, the PWB released funding and approved the report's recommended repair design elements, predicted failure rate concept and replacement cost analysis. The repair of the timber seawall was accomplished in 1985 with State and Federal funds.

Subject Headings: Coastal protection structures | Sea walls | Beaches | Wood and wood products | Wood structures | Water-based recreation | Water waves | California | United States

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