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Now is the Time to Save What We Can of Gleneden-Lincoln Beach – Reader Opinion

Ocean threat to homes overlooking the sea…

Many of us who live in Gleneden-Lincoln beach enjoy our beach’s beauty and diverse recreational opportunities. Sadly, the beach is not healthy. I want to install shoreline armor sooner rather than later to save my property, privacy, and money. It is important to preserve existing vegetation for wildlife habitat and the beach experience for visitors and property owners.

Background Information

I have lived at 245 Tillicum for over 17 years in an oceanfront home built in 1970. Regrettably, the Lincoln County Planning Department did not notify me of the Goal 18 Exemption Public Hearing held September 9, 2021. All properties on Gleneden-Lincoln beach are adversely effected by riprap along our shoreline.

Given scientific evidence found on the Lincoln County Planning Commission’s website, I agree with the commissioner’s decision to grant the exemption that allows neighbors to armor their property. However, I am concerned the effect of riprap on wildlife and nearby properties was not addressed.

I worked with Ranger Jay Sennewald (retired) to learn how best to manage erosion on my property. For years, I followed his advice as well as that offered in various publications. I divide grass and plant bare root willow every spring. I also feed and water our beach front vegetation as needed. As a result, my plants are healthy, growing, and spreading.

Gleneden-Lincoln Beach is the Only One of Its Kind in Oregon

Gleneden-Lincoln beach is the fastest eroding beach in Oregon and no longer functions normally. Engineers, geologists, geophysicists, land use planners, and others expect all oceanfront property owners will inevitably need shoreline armor to protect their property due to human intervention and natural forces. Over time, the dry sand on the beach will disappear. And a wet sand beach will only be available for recreation during low tide. Here’s why:  1) Sand was mined from Gleneden-Lincoln beach from 1965-1971, 2) Shoreline armor redirects water and prevents natural ocean processes, 3) Climate change increases storm intensity, water temperature, and more, 4) Sea level is rising due to melting glaciers, and 5) El Nino storms redirected Gleneden-Lincoln beach sand north to Siletz Bay.

Proposal

I propose oceanfront property owners be permitted to install shoreline protection before their property faces ‘imminent danger” or requires an “emergency Goal 18 Exemption.” Riprapping earlier rather than later provides these benefits:  1) Extends the life of Gleneden-Lincoln beach and its recreational activities, 2) Preserves wildlife habitat, 3) Saves existing vegetation that provides a superior visual aesthetic compared to a stark, fully armored beach, 4) Gives property owners the ability to rip-rap before existing land and vegetation is washed out to sea, 5) Provides privacy for visitors and property owners, 6) Offers property owners the opportunity to install shoreline armor using today’s dollars (especially beneficial to seniors, like me, living on a fixed income)

Conclusion

Sadly, there are no viable solutions to return Gleneden-Lincoln beach to what it was before humans intervened. Given scientific analyses, all properties from Fogarty Creek to the end of the Salishan Split will inevitably need shoreline protection. The beach can neither recover on its own nor with human intervention. One scientist suggests, though others disagree, the only way to fix the beach is to replace 110,500 cubic yards of sand transferred during sand mining and remove all shoreline armor. (Note: Each Morris Excavation truck carries 12 yards. This means it would take 9,209 truckloads to replace 110,500 cubic yards of sand!) The cost alone of this idea is prohibitive. Who would pay to correct missteps that started over 50 years ago? Perhaps developers and real estate brokers?

Oregon’s legislators should allow affected property owners on Gleneden-Lincoln beach to install shoreline protection now rather than later! This action preserves the remaining beach and benefits visitors and our community. Postponing the inevitable helps no one.

Thank you for thinking about the future of Gleneden-Lincoln beach!

Suzan Sachdeva
suzansach@gmail.com
Lincoln Beach

Please email your thoughts to: Rep.DavidGomberg@oregonlegislature.gov, Central Coast, District 10.

To learn more about the county commissioner’s decision and read related reports, search for Goal 18 Lincoln County, OR,  Planning Commission. Then click Goal 18 Exception Hearing Lincoln County Oregon.

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The views and opinions of the above statement are strictly those of the author.  The views and/or opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of the staff and/or the management of NewsLincolnCounty.com.

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