Point Dume access road and parking lot reopens after storm damage

Beachgoers once again enjoyed an afternoon stroll through Point Dume after erosion that took place last month. 

Earlier last month, the entrance to Point Dume parking lot was heavily eroded and at risk of collapse after the rainstorms. The City of Malibu announced the closure on Jan. 20, due to hazardous conditions to the access road, parking lot, and restrooms. 

The beach itself remained open, but there was no vehicle access beyond the end of Westward Beach Road.

The County of Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors has been repairing the site and recently opened it to the public on Feb. 11.

“Keep off the Rocks” signs were placed along the road where officials placed boulders to prevent further damage. 

During construction, officials with Beaches and Harbors closed the road to vehicles and pedestrians.

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“Keep off the Rocks” signs were placed along Westward Beach Road in Point Dume, where officials placed boulders to prevent further erosion damage. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

County of Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors Public Information Specialist Nicole Mooradian said erosion is caused by a combination of wave action and high tides.

“Without the high tides, the strong surf would not have caused as much damage, and vice versa,” Mooradian said in an email to The Malibu Times.

Mooradian said “the last time she checked,” an estimated 700 trucks loaded large boulders onto the site.

“We placed 875 truckloads of boulders, each weighing an estimated 28 tons, for the recent emergency revetment work. We estimate the cost at more than $3 million,” Mooradian said.

“Also, per our Planning Division, the combination of king tides and huge surf destroyed the dune restoration project area seaward of Point Dume restroom No. 1. Some of the sand was also used to replenish areas decim,” Mooradian said. “We are working with The Bay Foundation to determine where to focus future habitat restoration efforts in the area.”

In terms of working with other departments and organizations, Mooradian said they are in communication with organizations such as the Bay Foundation for dune restoration projects. 

“We are actively working with The Bay Foundation on dune restoration projects along the coast,” Mooradian said. “Regarding Point Dume in particular, I know we’ve offered assistance, but I don’t know if concrete plans have been established.”

The Bay Foundation works on a range of projects and initiatives across the Santa Monica Bay and its watershed to restore natural habitats both on land and underwater, address climate change, clean up waterways, create green spaces in urban areas, and more.

The Bay Foundation implemented The Malibu Living Shoreline Project (MLSP) in winter of 2020-2021, in partnership with the City of Malibu, the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, and the California State Coastal Conservancy. The project aims to restore approximately three acres of sandy beaches and dune habitat at Zuma Beach and Point Dume Beach. This project will provide multiple ecosystem benefits such as shoreline stabilization and habitat for native flowering plants and shorebirds. The last volunteer event the organization hosted at Point Dume was last year in April in honor of Earth Day. These projects are multi-benefit, which helps improve the coastal resiliency of beaches and by restoring the shoreline, it helps sand act as a buffer towards sea-level rise and coastal erosion.

This isn’t the first time the beach has been damaged due to big waves and strong currents.

In 2021, the access road that connects the entrance on Westward Beach Road to the beach parking lots was impassable after high tides caused the parking lot to collapse.

Mooradian said ways the City of Malibu, local residents, and visitors can help maintain the beaches by volunteering for restoration projects and as simple as throwing trash away. 

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Officials at LA County Beaches and Harbor said ways the City of Malibu, local residents, and visitors can help maintain the beaches by volunteering for restoration projects and as simple as throwing trash away. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

“Erosion is not an issue that can be ‘solved’ on an individual level; however, we always encourage everyone to be respectful of the local marine environment,” Mooradian said. “Volunteering for habitat restoration projects, avoiding damaged and/or closed areas, and even just picking up extra trash on the beach all contribute to a healthier coast.”

Organizations such as Heal the Bay Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds safe, clean, and healthy, recently created a Storm Response Team, in response to the recent storms. Heal the Bay’s Storm Response Team acts as the “Last Line of Defense.” A team of dedicated volunteers take action and remove garbage washed out of the storm drain system and local waterways before it reaches the ocean. Heal the Bay use science, education, community action, and advocacy to fulfill its mission. 

Heal the Bay also provides self-guide cleanup tips for storm and atmospheric river conditions response. The top outfall locations include Zuma Beach. 

To find restoration or volunteer events, visit healthebay.org and the Bay Foundation at santamonicabay.org.

For more information on the damage and erosion, call Beaches and Harbors at (424) 526-7777. 

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department.Twitter @samanthavbravo

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