Carmel Beach: Access, Maintenance and Climate Change Impact

The Carmel City Beach is nature's gift to our residents and visitors from destinations far and near.  But to keep this the attraction we all love - requires tasks including waste pick-up (by many including the efforts of Carmel Cares Volunteer and CRA Beach Clean Up too), oversight of its use and policies and the maintenance tied to impact of waves, King tides, storms, errosion and much more.  

Image showing how our sands slide into our bacy and our back and then returns seasonally

  • HERE is the City's general public webpage on our Carmel City Beach - including its policies/rules.
  • HERE is the Cit's general public webpage on the Climate Committee's work and final reports.
  • HERE are the Shoreline Management Plan(s) covering approved (in 2004) routine maintenance requirements prepared for our Sea Walls etc.  Shoreline Management Plan Chps 1-3 and Shoreline Management Plan Chps 4-8 

Mar 26 2024 4:30 PM - Special City Council Meeting topic "Coastal Engineering Study Phase 1" Recieve Report

Consultant teams will present their findings on this study. 
Staff report for this meeting is HERE
The presentation reviewed is HERE.
The technical report in support of this presentation is HERE

Mar 4 2024 - Special City Council Meeting - Request for Phase 2 Budget Approval inlcuding project history

Staff report for this meeting is HERE The YouTube from this meeting (starting with this topic) is HERE.  With significant community input critical of the overall costs, extended analysis and how actionalble these reports will provide, ultimately getting to preparing for repairs to the Sea Walls and Revetments - this budget item was ultimately approved by a vote of 3Yes/2No during this session. 

The were/are multiple phases in this project are insightful as follows:

Phase 1 – Coastal Engineering and Hazard Assessment

  • Task 1 – The findings of the Coastal Infrastructure Condition Assessment were presented to the Forest and Beach Commission in March 2023 and the Climate Committee in November 2023. The final report is available HERE 
  • Task 2 – Preparation of the Shoreline and Beach Change Analysis – Long Term and Seasonal. The findings of this analysis were presented to the Forest and Beach Commission in August 2023 and the Climate Committee in November 2023. The final report is available HERE.
    Shoreline and Beach Change Analysis is located on the City’s website HERE The Task 2 presentation is located on the City’s website HERE.
  • Task 3 – Shoreline and Beach Erosion Exposure Modeling. A technical memo of the methods and maps showing results of the projected existing and future coastal hazard extents is planned to be presented to the Climate Committee and Forest and Beach Commission in February or March 2024.
  • Task 4– Coastal Hazard and Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment. The consultants will provide an Executive Summary of results, up to five sector profile summaries (land use, transportation, utilities, etc.) which is planned to be presented to the Climate Committee and Forest and Beach Commission in February or March 2024.
  • Task 5– Policy Review. The consultants provided a memo summarizing the City’s existing coastal hazard policies and attended meetings with California Coastal Commission and staff. The Policy Review was accepted by staff.

Phase 2 – Local Coastal Plan (LCP) Coastal Hazards Policy Update ($450k funded by Coastal Commission)
The Phase 2 LCP Coastal Hazards Policy work will build off the technical work completed in Phase 1 and will update the City’s LCP to address Coastal Hazards and identify adaptation strategies. 
Specifically, Phase 2 will include the following tasks:

    • Consultant project management;
    • Develop recommendations for policy and project approaches and identify high priority adaptations;
    • Public outreach and solicit meaningful community engagement;
    • Conduct a socio-economic analysis including developing a cost analysis for certain implementation strategies;
    • Develop adaptation strategies for short, medium- and long-term projects as well as monitoring triggers for steps to move to the next phase of adaptation;
    • Prepare draft language for coastal hazards LCP policy updates;
    • Prepare a Draft LCP Amendment for LCP sections for consistency with Coastal Hazards; and
    • Prepare an LCP Amendment to update coastal hazard policies.

Mar 1 2024 - Friday Letter Update on Beach Stairway Repairs

Plan in Place to Restore Beach Access Stairs covered in the Friday Letter HERE  also copied below. Thanks to a constructive conversation with the California Coastal Commission last week, the City has received the green light to perform repair work on some of the damaged beach stairs and access points under an Emergency Coastal Development Permit or “ECDP”. This is great news, since it means no Coastal Commission permits will be needed, only City-issued permits! This week, to put together the scope of work, staff toured and inspected all of the beach access points (12 total) to determine which stairs and access points could be repaired in the immediate future, and which would have to wait.  The assessment concluded that all of the stairs fall into one of four categories:
  1. Access to be opened with minor repairs by City Staff in the short-term (approximately one month)
  2. Access to be opened with more intensive repairs by City Staff in the mid-term (approximately 2-3 months)
  3. Access to be opened in the long-term with structural engineering and outside contractors; and
  4. Access to be opened when sufficient sand returns to the beach due to eliminate the significant drop-off
The City will begin to process the ECDPs for the work that can be accomplished in the short-term and mid-term. The process for longer-term repairs is already underway and will continue to remain a priority, but will take significantly more time due to the need for engineering and regulatory permitting. The following summarizes our plan to restore the beach access points for each location:
  Access currently open, that will stay open (2 sites): 
  • Fourth Avenue Stairs
  • Del Mar Parking Access Ramp
  Access to be repaired in-house in the short term under an ECDP (4 sites):
  • Eighth Avenue Stairs
  • Tenth Avenue South Stairs 
  • Eleventh Avenue Stairs 
  • Thirteenth Avenue Stairs
  Access to be repaired in-house in the mid-term under an ECDP (1 Site):
  • Martin Way Stairs (see photo #3 below)
  Access deferred for structural engineering and contractor (2 sites):
  • Tenth Avenue North Stairs
  • Twelfth Avenue Stairs 
  Access deferred until the sand comes back (2 sites):
  • Ninth Avenue Stairs
  • Eighth Avenue Equipment Access Ramp

Feb 15 2024 - Special Climate Committee Meeting - Preliminary Report on Beach Erosion & Vunerabilites

    • The reports reviewed (also see next two bullets) does not provide recommendations on what to do about these findings. The next stage of this Consultants reports will cover choices on rebuilding/protections with longevitiy estimates, work effort, disruption and costs rough estimates.  <-- The budget approval for this next phase engagement was to be covered at the cancelled due to storms February City Council meeting - now a topic anticipated for March 5th City Council 
    • HERE is the Staff report for this meeting - with: 
      Attachment #1 - Summer Beach Width Change Projection Maps and 
      Attachment #2 - Coastal Cliff and Dune Erosion Projection Maps
    • HERE is the YouTube from this meeting.

More to follow....suggestions welcome.