Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oil Piers Reef Update

BEACON is the lead agency on a proposal to construct an artificial surfing reef at Oil Piers. This is idea that originated when the piers were removed in 1998, causing loss of the surf break. At that time, Stanley's Reef Foundation was formed to promote a reef constructed from PVC pipe.

Several years later, BEACON was able to attract the interest of the Corps of Engineers to consider the project under their Section 227 Natural Erosion Control Development Program. In 2002, BEACON as the local project sponsor, and the USACOE began working on an artificial reef project at Oil Piers. The

USACOE contracted with ASR Ltd to develop a preliminary design for an offshore reef that will create a stable beach through wave rotation and energy dissipation. The proposed structure will consist of submerged sand-filled containers placed offshore of the beach.

In the past decade, ASR has constructed several sand bag reefs around the world, with limited success. In most cases the local surf communities have rejected the reefs' inability to create a surfable wave. Most recently, ASR has proposed using rocks to augment the sand bags in the New Zealand reef.

BEACON staff are currently working with the USACOE and ASR Ltd Team to deliver a new project design. Depending on federal funding, the goal is to have the project constructed in 2012.
Meanwhile, BEACON completed environmental documents proposing at least five of these structures for the Santa Barbara/Ventura coastline. Surfrider commented that it may be premature to plan these other projects until we can demonstrate success at oil piers.