Pacifica is a small city just south of San Francisco, and it's known for its beautiful beaches, the open hills.But Pacifica has a problem related to sea level rise and bluff erosion.Climate change will affect how fast sea level rises,and the stronger winter storms that are the major cause of erosion of the bluffs.That is the big problem.We've actually lost a couple of apartment buildings a few years ago and we have more under threat.I'm John Keener.I'm a former research biochemist and former council member and Mayor of Pacifica.This is the coastal trail over what once were houses and yards and so on.So, you can see the front door of the houses was almost even with the edge of the bluff now.This was my house, 556 Esplanade.There was a garage over here.There was also the most fabulous bathroom, with the bathtub right on the ocean.It was for me perfection.I loved living here.One day, I was just sitting in my living room which was on this side, and I went into my bedroom and part of the fence was missing.This whole part of the cliff had fallen down, but it was sand, so it just kind of went "wooosh".And then a few days later, the neighbor's hot tub fell in and then the city said, "You know, it looks like they're going to fall into the ocean,so we're going to demolish them."And the demolition guy got to my house and you could see the claw come out, reach for my house and before it even touched it...It just pulled off of its foundation, the house fell in like a Monopoly house.
The coasts are just in trouble, big, big trouble.El Nino storms are speeding up erosion along Californias coast.Families urged to get out before their homes go over the edge.These apartment buildings are teetering on the verge of disaster.The apartment cliff dwellers of Pacifica changed status this morning, from residents to refugees.Well, I thought we would have to move sooner or later.It just happened sooner. Tonight, El Ninos fury ripping apart this chunk of the California coastline.Look at the edge. The pavement just crumbled away.Another 20 feet used to go out there, all of it falling over the edge over just the last two weeks.Right down there,there's only about 30 feet of bluff left,before these apartments become like those apartments down there.And so, that's why they're doing all this construction down on the beach is an attempt to reinforce the bluff and to stop the erosion.In the long run, it won't work.
Yeah, good to see you, Charles.How are you?Good. How are you?Good. Quite a mess out here. Yeah.I know Charles from, he was one of the contractors that helped us write the sea level part of our local coastal plan.We were sort of, I think, lulled into a false sense of security in locations like this.We thought they were safe.When this building was built,the projection was that it would be safe for 75 years at least without a seawall.That was in 1972.Seawall was built about 40 years earlier than expected.So, the long-term solution is to pull back gracefully.The idea of managed retreat, you know, it gets simplified down to this,"Oh, the state is telling people they have to move out of their homes tomorrow."No. Managed retreat is about anticipating what's going to be happening over decades, you know, decades of time.Do you want to deal with this on an emergency basis, which is the way we've dealt with it so far and it's the most expensive possible way to deal with it?Or, do you want to plan for it a little bit and find a cheaper way to deal with it?