Years of ferocious storms have threatened to gnaw away the western tip of a popular beachfront park two hours drive north of Los Angeles. Instead of building a 500-foot-long wooden defense next to the pier to tame the tide, the latest thinking is to flee.
Up and down the California coast, some communities are deciding it's not worth trying to wall off the encroaching ocean. Until recently, the thought of bowing to nature was almost unheard of.
This summer, the city of Ventura is pressing ahead with its $4.5 million retreat. Last year, crews removed a disintegrating oceanfront bike path at Surfer's Point, a popular surfing spot, and built a new one farther inland. The beach was widened and cobblestone was put down.
Mark Gold, associate director at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, commended local efforts but thinks a large-scale approach is needed.
"It's definitely something that needs to be taken a lot more seriously," Gold said.
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