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Coastal scouring worries many who use Central Coast beaches

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The recent harsh winter waves have left many Central Coast beaches without much sand, and more rocks than many people remember.

It's a cycle that may be more harsh this year because of the conditions - a storm surge at the same time of an astronomical high tide.

Some of the more popular beaches, including Goleta, Hendry's, Haskell's, Butterfly and Miramar are dramatically different than they were in December.

"It definitely looks different.  We're missing all the sand", said former resident Jeanne Kearns.

 Hendry's Beach in Santa Barbara, normally crowded doesn't have much to show off these days at the end of Las Positas Road in Arroyo Burro County Park.

Kearns said, "normally there's lots of dogs and people I mean there's hardly any sand at all  just waves and rocks  it's definitely different. "

For those exploring the coast, getting around is not easy without the sand, trying to maneuver on the rocks and across the scoured beaches.
Robbie Begg said shooting pictures of surfers and said, "that's true because it is more difficult since there is no sand to walk on. They still go out there because of the tide pools ."

Those who have seen this before are certain this area will be crowded again for the summer
"It will.  I hope so. well  I'm going  to keep coming back ,"  said Kearns as she headed over for a beach front lunch.

Normally the shifting sands will fill in the beaches by summer.

This year there's also an infusion of truckloads of sediment from debris basins entering the ocean at Ash Ave. in Carpinteria and on the far end of Goleta Beach. Combined with the ocean currents, that has proven to be a contributing factor to restore the appearance of the beaches.

In the meantime, some spectacular rock exposures have been seen at low tide.

Long timers say, be patient, the beaches will come back, in part because of the normal cycle, and also because debris basin sediment is getting trucked to Goleta Beach.

Richard Payne was on a dog walk and said, "the stuff that they are putting up in Goleta is going to come south this way and refill all this stuff."

The rest will be left up the currents.   "It's part of nature's way of moving the sand down the coast," said Payne.

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beach recovery
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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