Erosion Watch on the Sonoma Coast

Feb 18, 2016

Broken seawalls, shattered stairways and precarious positions are now seen with the surviving homes at Gleason Beach.
Credit California Coastal Records Project

  King tides, El Nino, and sea level rise pose a triple threat to homes built too close to the edge of northern California’s seaside buffs. Some homes above Gleason’s Beach on the Sonoma Coast have been lost in years past, while others remain at risk.

The crumbling hillside at Gleason Beach has already claimed several residences, and growing cracks at the edge of Highway One show the ongoing erosion now poses a threat to that section of the roadway.
Credit Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Gary Griggs, a professor of  Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Santa Cruz , has been tracking the eroding cliffs at Gleason Beach for the past decade and a half. He says his periodic return visits show that the problems there continue to advance slowly but persistently.

Last year, CalTrans began developing  plans to move Highway One further inland as it passes the Gleason Beach area. While this is one of the most acute threats to the highway, Griggs notes that the highway agency have a lot to be concerned about up and down the California coast.