Let Aliso Creek Take Nature’s Path


By Tex Haines

Tex Haines.

Sixty truckloads of sand flush out into the ocean every time the Aliso Creek berm is breached. It is fairly simple math to calculate the volume of sand. It is a truncated pyramid approximately 50 yards at the base, 20 yards across the top, 20 yards wide and three yards deep: 1800 cubic yards at 30 yards per truck would add up to some 60 truckloads.

Since the county began emptying the creek more frequently to reduce the bacteria count, 10th Street Beach has been about the double the depth that it normally, historically,  has been observed.

This observation came from the long time lifeguard at 10th, a fellow named Steve, who now guards for the Montage Beach. Just this last weekend, the huge south swells were able to strip all the sand out of 10th Street and it looks like the most famous sidewash in the world may start working again. With the sand gone, the waves start hitting the previously buried rocks and bouncing back off they form a reflected wave traveling up the shore. Pure heaven, our Pipeline, our Sunset, our favorite skimboarding beach here in Laguna, the skimboarding capitol of the world.

Unfortunately the creek is being emptied artificially nearly every day, but a handful of bodysurfers and photographers who like the sandbar it creates out in front.

Leave it alone. Flushing more often just puts more pollution out there on a more frequent basis. Every day the swimmers and bodysurfers and skimboarders get a cloudy, bacteria laden ocean, for the rest of the day. It seems crazy, it is literally sickening.

It is an estuary. Leave it alone. It can’t be a natural estuary if we empty it. The ocean forms the berm; let the ocean break it or the accumulated flow in the creek should break it.

Burying our best sidewash beach in the capital of skimboarding is a tragic mistake. Burying god knows how many tide pools north and south of the mouth of Aliso is not right either.

The pollutants that flow from our streets and freeways and parks should not be allowed to enter the creek untreated. It is the municipalities’ responsibility to fix this. A coalition of environmental groups is poised to address this restoration of the creek. Laguna Ocean Foundation is one such entity.

Let’s start by leaving Mother Nature alone. No more 60 truckloads of sand being flushed into the ocean. There are consequences down shore.

As Steve put it, 10th Street Beach has been buried in sand ever since the more frequent breaching began about 10 years ago.

P.S. Orange County,  please kill the beach raking monster that turns Aliso and Camel clear to West into a huge sandtrap. Your huge tractor’s tines are six inches apart, too wide to catch anything but seaweed and there is never any kelp on these beaches to warrant this huge expense. It has been observed that the rake pushes paper and trash even deeper into the sand. Why, with money so tight these days and all the focus on wasteful government spending, does this program continue? It’s a beach, not a golf resort.


Tex Haines is president of Victoria Skimboards and holds a bachelor of science degree from Stanford University.


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