Project to combat climate change, rising sea levels begins at San Francisco's Ocean Beach

The plan is to build a sand berm to protect the southern section of the beach.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers celebrated the Ocean Beach Nourishment Project Thursday, a project designed to confront the issue of climate change.

"We are experiencing sea level rise here in San Francisco, including on the ocean side of the city. And we are experiencing chronic erosion in this area, which is threatening critical wastewater infrastructure, which protects water quality in San Francisco," explained project manager Anne Roche.

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The plan is to build a sand berm to protect the southern section of Ocean Beach.

"We are putting roughly 270,000 cubic yards of material along 3,000 yards of beach way out here," said Pamela Patton, the project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A dredge ship is bringing the sand from the ocean floor and funneling it to the beach. The section of beach between Sloat Boulevard and Fort Funston is currently closed.

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At a full five feet, cyclical flooding coupled with other impacts of climate change could begin to cause havoc in the Bay Area.

The sand berm they plan to build will protect buildings like the zoo, the wastewater treatment plant and infrastructure like roads and pipes. Officials say if they did not build the berm, the effects of climate change would be catastrophic.

"Eventually the bluff here that is protecting critical wastewater infrastructure would continue to erode and expose that infrastructure and we could end up with a major pipeline out here breaking and spilling sewage and storm water onto the beach," Roche said.

The project is expected to take about a month.

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