Land, Sea and Air Interactions
Fall 2005, SFSU
(Tuesday, October 11)
Dr. Lisa White
(Dept. of Geosciences)
Introduction. In 1929, the Great Highway along San Francisco's Ocean Beach from Golden Gate Park south to the San Francisco Zoo opened to great fanfare. In the early 1970s the Great Highway was extended southward from Sloat Blvd., then inland to connect to Skyline Blvd. at Lake Merced. A source of pride when it first opened, and a convenient commuter route to San Francisco's Richmond District (north of Golden Gate Park), the Great Highway has become something of a headache for the city in recent years. The culprit: coastal erosion.
South of Sloat Blvd., storm-driven waves have taken bites out of the parking lots along the Great Highway and threatened the highway itself. North of Sloat Blvd., seawalls protect the most vulnerable sections from waves, but waves deposit sand and strong westerly winds then pile it against the seawalls and onto the road, forcing road closures until the sand can be removed.
During the winter of 2002-2003, the southbound lanes of the Great Highway south of Sloat Blvd. were moved farther inland, out of immediate reach (it is hoped) of the relentless waves. However, this solution is only temporary and something more permanent will be necessary.
|Any attempt to address the threat of coastal erosion to the Great Highway must inevitably affect Ocean Beach, a popular recreational destination that is part of the National Park Service's Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), as well as several nearby municipal facilities. In 2004, San Francisco's Department of Public Works (DPW), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the GGNRA began a long-term project to study the problem, evaluate proposed solutions, and implement a solution. Input from the public will be crucial to determining the ultimate solution.|
Stage 1: Why is the Great Highway threatened by coastal erosion, and what is the physical nature of the threat? In this stage of the problem you will investigate the physical processes causing the erosion at Ocean Beach. Your investigation will include literature research using a variety of published materials, including studies of the area. We will also conduct a field trip to the site on Tuesday, Nov. 1 to collect data that you will use to construct a map of the site and profiles of the beach, which will be included in the final report.
Final Report: What long-term solutions have been proposed, what effect might those solutions have on Ocean Beach, and what is the best long-term solution? In addition to revised Stage 1 reports, a site map, and beach profiles, the final report will summarize proposed solutions; identify parties (city, state, and national government agencies, private groups, etc.) who have a stake in Ocean Beach, care about its future, and perhaps advocate one solution over another; evaluate the potential impact of proposed solutions on Ocean Beach; and recommend what your group thinks is the best solution.
Your Immediate, Pre-Stage 1 Task. To decide the future of
the Great Highway and Ocean Beach, we must first understand their past. In the
recent past, from the last century to the present day, humans have strongly
shaped San Francisco's western coastline. In the section below is an annotated
list of WWWeb sites that might offer insight into the recent history of the
Great Highway and Ocean Beach and the current issues surrounding them. As part
of your general background preparation for this problem, we encourage your group
to use these WWWeb sites, and any other sources of information that you find
(including other WWWeb sites), to try to address the following questions:
These questions span both Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the problem, and you'll address most of them in the context of the forthcoming assignment for each stage. The WWWeb sites below are perhaps most helpful for Stage 2 and for helping you understand the context of the problem and the issues surrounding it. We recommend that you divide these WWWeb sites among yourselves, check them out, and share with each other the most relevant and interesting information that you find.
Links to Some WWWeb Resources
Contribution to Course Grade. Real-World Problem #2, "Ocean Beach: If You Can't Beat It, ...?", will have one stage plus a site map, beach profiles, and solution recommendations in an integrated final group report, as follows:
|Stages of Real-World Problem #2||
|Stage 1: The Nature of Coastal Erosion at Ocean Beach (first draft due Thursday, Nov. 10; critique of two group-mates' drafts due Tuesday, Nov. 15; revised draft due Tuesday, Nov. 22)||10% (including 4% based on critique of drafts of two group-mates' reports, and 6% based on individual report)|
|Site map and beach profiles (due Tuesday, Nov. 8; to be included with final report)||5% (shared group grade)|
|Final Report (due Thursday, December 1)||5% (shared group grade)|