Surfer's Beach

Army Corps delivers Surfer's Beach erosion reports

In March 2016, the following three reports were provided by the Army Corps of Engineers: Engineering, Environmental, and Economic Reports.

James G. Zoulas, Civil Engineer with the Army Corps will give a presentation about these reports at the Coastside Sea Rise & Erosion Forum on May 24, 2016 in Miramar. 

Coastside Sea Rise & Erosion Forum

Tuesday, May 24 at 6:00pm  (presentations will start at 6:30pm)

Douglas Beach House
311 Mirada Rd, Half Moon Bay (Miramar), CA 94019
Please take either Magellen or Medio to Mirada Road


This event was inspired by the recent Pacifica Sea Level Rise Forum, and we hope it will be just as well received on the Coastside. 

Speakers' Biographies

Dan Hoover, PhD

Dan is an Oceanographer with the U.S. Geological Survey Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, studying coastline evolution and managing beach and near-shore bathymetry survey programs at several sites in California, including Santa Barbara, northern Monterey Bay, and at Ocean Beach, San Francisco.  Dan holds a PhD and MS in Oceanography from University of Hawaii, and a BS and ME in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College.  Dan has worked on a wide variety of biological, geochemical, physical and geological oceanographic research projects at coastal sites in Hawaii, across the Pacific, and along the California coast.  Prior to returning to graduate school to study oceanography, he worked as an engineer on the Space Station and Space Shuttle programs.

James G. Zoulas, PhD, E.I.T.

James is a coastal engineer at the San Francisco District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he has been involved in developing solutions to coastal erosion and navigation problems in the San Francisco region.  James received a B.A. in Geography at UC Berkeley, and then received his training in coastal geomorphology at UCLA, where his Ph.D. dissertation addressed long-term beach changes in Orange County, CA.  James was the primary author of the Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plan for the Santa Cruz littoral cell, which includes San Mateo County from Pillar Point southward.  James served as the primary coastal engineer on the North Half Moon Bay Shoreline Improvement Project, where he collaborated with a team from the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center to model the effectiveness of several erosion mitigation measures.  James also conducted an evaluation of bluff erosion in the project area in order to better understand the influence of the east breakwater on bluff retreat.

Robert Battalio, PE

Bob is vice president, chief engineer, and leader of ESA’s Environmental Hydrology Coastal Zone Engineering & Management team.  He has dedicated his career of over 25 years to coastal and estuarine engineering, wetland and creek restoration design, and waterfront civil engineering projects throughout the U.S.  He has addressed erosion and flooding hazards on the West Coast, including shoreline mapping, sand budgets, wave and run-up studies, design of hard and soft erosion protection, and design of shoreline retreat and realignment. He was integral to pioneering projects such as the San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission’s 1990 San Francisco Bay sea level rise study; effects of coastal sand mining in southern Monterey Bay; FEMA’s 2005 Pacific Coast Flood Hazard Mapping Guidelines; and coastal erosion response to sea level rise for Pacific Institute and the California Ocean Protection Council in 2009.  Bob holds a Masters of Engineering in civil/coastal engineering from UC Berkeley.  He is a member of the San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission's Engineering Criteria Review Board; Northern California vice president of the California Shore and Beach Preservation Association; member of The Surfrider Foundation; and former president of the California Marine Parks and Harbors Association.


In May 2016, John R. Dingler, Army Corps Oceanographer will release a Detailed Project Report for public review. This is the only Army Corps of Engineers report currently outstanding.


Pillar Point Harbor is a protected harbor of refuge with two rubble-mound outer breakwaters constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The outer breakwater was built in 1959. The length of the east and west breakwaters is approximately 4,500 ft and 3,600 ft, respectively. In addition, three rubble-mound inner breakwaters were constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1980s.


April 7, 2016 - Half Moon Bay Review -  by Carina Woudenberg

The crumbling Coastside: Winter leaves ominous signs of erosion

March 18, 2015 - Half Moon Bay Review -  by Mark Noack

Cost of incomplete erosion study surpasses $1M

Harbor District adopts Lead Agency status on sand replenishment at Surfer's Beach



Citizens for Sabrina Brennan, a citizens' group recently formed to support Commissioner Brennan of the San Mateo County Harbor District, is pleased to announce that the District's Board of Commissioners voted during their meeting last night to adopt Lead Agency status in the sand replenishment effort at Surfer's Beach in Pillar Point Harbor. Commissioner Brennan made the motion to adopt Lead Agency status and the board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Surfer's Beach is a stretch of coastline under the jurisdiction of the Harbor District where the beach is being quickly erased by erosion, jeopardizing a public resource and putting a portion of Highway 1 at serious risk. Sand that would normally deposit on and replenish the beach has been blocked for years by the breakwaters of the harbor.

Citizens for Sabrina Brennan would like to commend and recognize Commissioner Brennan for her sustained leadership role on this issue: Ms. Brennan began advocating for this issue with the San Mateo County Harbor District years ago and established the District's Beach Replenishment Committee during her recent tenure as Board President.

Under Brennan's leadership as President, the Harbor District reached out to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). [see attached letters] In the letter to NOAA, the Harbor District expressed its desire to participate in sediment management plans that could supply sand for beach replenishment, while in the letter to the BCDC the Harbor District expressed concerns over the approval of continued sand mining operations in the San Francisco Bay, which would adversely affect coastal San Mateo County beaches if sand was mined at a rate faster than replenishment.

James Lee, a Redwood City resident with Citizens for Sabrina Brennan, said, "As someone born and raised in San Mateo County who has been visiting Pillar Point Harbor regularly all my life, I've been alarmed by the rate of erosion at Surfer's Beach over the years. I'm glad that action is being taken to reverse the damage, starting with tonight's vote. And as a friend and supporter of Commissioner Brennan it's thrilling to see her years of advocacy on this issue culminate with the Harbor District adopting Lead Agency status on sand replenishment at Surfer's Beach. Last night's vote is a clear vindication of her tireless work and leadership skills."

The Commission also gave direction to staff on a social media plan for the district, another area in which Commissioner Brennan had taken the lead. Ms. Brennan received repeated and targeted criticism from former commissioners who had tried to make an issue out of the fact that district staff had posted her social media information on the Harbor District website. Citizens for Sabrina Brennan is pleased to see that attitudes have shifted at the Harbor District and we find this shift to be yet another confirmation of Ms. Brennan's role as the Harbor District's lead modernizer and public advocate.