San Francisco’s turning into an island

If you’re looking to buy a house in San Francisco, perhaps look at real estate further inland.  It could soon become beachfront property.

Last week, Burrito Justice decided that with the rising sea level, San Francisco would eventually become an archipelago with Bernal Hill transformed into an island. While this all sounds a bit crazy, it was confirmed by the New York Times this week as they documented the progression of erosion on both the east and west coasts.

Although the eruptive waves at Ocean Beach can be quite mesmerizing, they are actually very dangerous for the coastline. And when El Niño comes to visit, it makes it even worse, slowly grinding away at the coastline and causing bluffs to collapse as massive amounts of sand get sucked out to sea, never to be seen again.

City planners are keeping a close eye on the ever-changing coastline at Ocean Beach and have set up numerous plans to keep the behemoth bluffs and sand in place to protect the valuable property that lies near the coastline.

And by valuable I mean the massive Great Highway, a $220 million wastewater treatment plant and a 14-foot-wide underground pipe that keeps sewage-tainted storm water away from the ocean. Yes, that sewage pipe seems like a pretty important asset to keep safe.

California officials expect climate change to raise sea levels in The City by 14 inches by 2050, reports the NYT. Researchers have also warned that severe coastal flooding could occur regularly in the U.S. by the middle of the century and that California would be severely affected. Economists at San Francisco State University concluded in a recent study:

“Communities will be forced to respond in one way or another to the increased erosion and coastal storm damage.”

The artificial options The City is faced with are quite costly and include installing walls in front of vulnerable areas, restocking the sand, or just letting the shoreline move where it wants.

But with each option comes further repercussions. If we build walls, the water will ricochet even harder off the concrete surface and cause further damage to the surrounding bluffs and beaches. But if we leave it well alone, The City could face millions of dollars in damage as Bernal becomes a luxurious island resort.

So now the question is, which road do we take?