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West Trail Living Shoreline Project

Project Location:Pillar Point Harbor
Status:Construction Underway
Initial Funding:April 4, 2016
Estimated Completion:April 2022
Description:Evaluate alternatives to prevent further trail erosion with an emphasis on a Living Shoreline with minimal hard armoring, re-line concrete swale, and stabilize adjacent hillside with planting of native vegetation. 
Justification:The West Trail and adjacent bluffs have sustained substantial erosion. 
Strategic Goal/Operating Impact:1) Comprehensive Long-Range Planning Guides District Actions and Decision-Making
 2) Infrastructure Improvements are Guided by Comprehensive Long-Term Planning. 
 3) Environmental Stewardship
May contain: text
May contain: land, nature, outdoors, shoreline, water, sea, ocean, and coast
May include: images of shoreline, text, Living Shoreline Notice


May contain: water, outdoors, and nature


Construction Phase: December 2021 - April 2022

 To protect an eroding segment of the West Trail, the District is constructing a Living Shoreline Consisting of a combinatino of cobble and sand dunes.  The Project will restore beach and dune habitat within the harbor and allow for continued public and emergency vehicle access along the trail.  The 300 lineaer foot living shoreline project has been designed for a lasting natural defense against coastal erosion and sea level rise. 

The Proejct also includes Improvements to the existing stormdrain system in this area.  The existing hillside storm drain will be undergrounded along the hillside slope and drainage will be routed to a new Bioretention Basin before discharging to the Pillar Point Marsh.  This restored freshwater connection willl provide ecological benefits to the marsh ecosystem.  

On Friday, February 12, 2021, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved the Coastal Development Permit for the long-awaited Pillar Point Harbor West Trail Living Shoreline Project. The project will restore the West Trail and provide a safe accessible trail to the Mavericks Beach Area, create new beach and dune habitat using an innovative living shoreline approach, and provide lasting protection against coastal erosion and sea level rise. The full Press Release can be viewed by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

The project is located along the western edge of Pillar Point Harbor (Harbor) in western San Mateo County, California. The Pillar Point West Trail (West Trail or trail) varies in width from 8 to 18 feet and connects a pedestrian pathway from the West Point Avenue access and parking area to the Pillar Point outer harbor and Mavericks Beach. The project area has experienced chronic coastal erosion, resulting in degradation of the existing Pillar Point Harbor West Trail and creating hazardous conditions for trail users. The erosion threatens the structural integrity of the trail for public and emergency vehicle use. In addition, because the trail is the only access point to Mavericks Beach and is a popular trail for visitors, permanent closure of the trail is not favored. The project includes the stabilization of the West Trail and stormwater system improvements. To protect and stabilize the trail, the project will include the construction of a nourished beach with an elevated dune adjacent to, and east of, 300 feet of the trail. Buried beneath the surface of the shoreline and dune would be a cobble berm (otherwise known as a dynamic revetment) and two rock fingers extending perpendicular from the trail. The stormwater improvements would address the aesthetics, function, and maintenance needs of the existing storm drain system as well as provide water quality improvements to the harbor.

With the Development Permit being issued, it is expected the project will be completed in the Fall/Winter of 2021.

Copies of the IS/MND can be downloaded from the following URL: or can be viewed at the Pillar Point Harbor, Harbormaster Office at One Johnson Pier Road, El Granada, CA 94016 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday through Saturday.

PPH-WT Living Shoreline Project Website Announcement.pdfWest Trail Living Shoreline CDP Press Release.pdf