King Tides 2019

King Tides are predictable, larger than normal high tide events that occur a few times a year when the moon is closest to the earth. A more scientific name is perigean spring tides. King Tides are interesting because they help to illustrate what more normal high tide events will look like in the future as sea level rise becomes more pronounced.

Sand Movement

Sandshed: The Sand Is on the Move!

There is a constant flow of sand from the land into the ocean. Watershed run-off and bluff and hillside erosion bring sand to the beach. Sand grains travel southward down the coast, while finer particles of sediment are carried and deposited further out to sea.

Along the way, sand is washed ashore, temporarily resting on beaches, until it is re-suspended in the ocean by wave action or wind. The one-way journey down the coast ends when sand is blown inland forming sand dunes, or more commonly, when it flows into a submarine canyon. This deep underwater feature is essentially the dead end of a littoral cell, where sand is deposited for the long-term and, for practical purposes, lost.

Littoral Cell

A littoral cell is a distinct area of the coastline where sand enters the ocean, flows down the coast, and then is removed from the system. Permanent loss of sand occurs at the end of the littoral cell when it flows into a submarine canyon or, less frequently, when it accumulates on shore as part of a sand dune. The amount of sand available to…

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Credit:  Dave Hubbard and UCSB Sea Grant Team

Montecito Debris Flows

A Beach Nourishment Opportunity

Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment

Sequence of Events

  • Thomas Fire – December 2017
  • Montecito Debris Flows – january 9, 2018
    • Perhaps 500,000 cy made it to the beach
    • About 70,000 cy deposited on public streets & flood control channels
    • About 400,000 cy deposited in local debris basins
    • Perhaps 1,000,000 cy deposited on private property
  • Aftermath
    • Street & f/c channel sediment taken to Goleta & Carpinteria Beaches
    • Debris basin sediment taken to Buellton & Santa Paula landfills
    • Private property sediment remains in place

What Does Debris Flow Look Like?

Montecito Debris Flows Stats

  • 25 people killed
  • Over 100 homes destroyed & more than 300 damaged
  • Widespread damage to property & infrastructure
  • About 2M cy of sediment released from foothills
  • Sediment mostly composed of sand (80%) along with rocks, logs, etc.
  • Sediment largely uncontaminated

Impact to Beaches

  • Sediment sorted rapidly by waves with finer material moving offshore & coarser material onshore
  • Rocks & boulders deposited at creek mouths – logs & other floating debris scattered along coast
  • Nearby beaches grew wider – new sand blended in well with existing
  • Trucked sediment at Carpinteria & Goleta Beaches had similar effects
  • Water quality impacts significant but short-term

Fernald Point – April 2017

Fernald - April 2017

Fernald Point – January 2018

Fernald Point - January 2018

Fernald Point – February 2018

Fernald - February 2018

Loon Point – April 2017

Loon Point - April 2017

Loon Point – January 2018

Loon Point - January 2018

Loon Point – March 2018

Loon Point - March 2018

Carpinteria Beach – April 2017

Carptinteria Beach - April 2017

Carpinteria Beach – January 2018

Carpinteria Beach - January 2018

Carpinteria Beach – March 2018

Carpinteria Beach - March 2018

Carpinteria Beach - March 2018-b

Carpinteria Beach - March 2018-cCarpinteria Beach - March 2018-d

Goleta Beach – June 2017

Goleta Beach - June 2017

Goleta Beach – January 2018

Goleta Beach - Janaury 2018

Goleta Beach – February 2018

Goleta Beach - February 2018

Goleta Beach – March 2018

Goleta Beach - March 2018

Predicted Shoreline Response

Predicted Shoreline Response

Unique Opportunity for Beach Nourishment

  • Large volume of sediment available on private property
  • Significant benefit if sediment taken to beaches
  • Sediment must be sorted & stored for placement in Winter/Spring
  • Comprehensive SCCBEP-type program needed to:
    • Establish sorting/storage areas
    • Identify beach receiver sites
    • Establish testing, placement & monitoring protocols
    • Secure environmental permits
    • Identify/develop funding mechanism





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