Transportaion Agency takes Surfrider to task on toll road Lowers : photo ASP Tostee/Covered Images

Environment News
Pro Toll Road: 241 Toll Road, Separating Fact From Fiction
Con Toll Road: Road Will Adversely Affect Surf and Water Quality

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 5 February, 2009 : - - I want to address misinformation in a Jan. 16 article [Surfrider Foundation puts ‘Bring Back Kirra’ campaign on table] with regard to the Surfrider Foundation’s involvement in the ‘Save Trestles’ campaign. Matt Butel’s statement that Foothill-South will “substantially degrade San Onofre State Beach” is misleading and grossly inaccurate.
Three independent reviews conducted by environmental engineers and noted coastal oceanographic consultants definitively concluded that the 241 Toll Road would have no substantial impact to surfing resources or the beach. The project design includes a roadway runoff system to treat two miles of runoff along Interstate 5 that currently goes untreated, improving water quality in the coastal area.
Project opponents have inaccurately claimed the roadway will destroy the beach when, in fact, the road does not go anywhere near the beach – it connects to Interstate 5 more than a half-mile away.
The U.S. Department of Commerce also refuted claims that the roadway would negatively affect the quality of the famous Trestles surf break. In its December 18 decision, Commerce states “The parties [Surfrider Foundation and TCA] provided competing expert reports on whether the Trestles Surf Break would be altered and, on balance, the record shows that the likelihood that the Project will impact the Trestles Surf Break is low.”
TCA, as a government agency, has always taken care to ensure that the surf conditions at Trestles and our other valuable natural resources are protected.
Sincerely, Lisa Telles
Chief Communications Officer, Transportation Corridor Agencies
Related Link: Surfrider Fdn. puts 'Bring Back Kirra' campaign on table

Surfrider replies:
According to February 2008 report compiled by the California Coastal Commission, an independent non-partisan agency whose sole responsibility is to safeguard our beaches and coastlines, the proposed extension to the SR-241 toll road will, in fact, adversely impact the surfing resources at Trestles and associated breaks. The report states in part:
“A review of the TCA’s newly submitted Runoff Management Plan reveals that it is quite probable an increase in fine sediment will occur. Additionally, the flow velocities in San Mateo Creek are likely to be reduced. Either result will impact the continued existence of the cobble delta. Therefore, the Commission concludes that the proposed toll road will likely affect the specific mix of sediments, sands and cobbles thus resulting in an impact to the surfing resources.”
The report then goes on to say, “If adverse effects occurred, they would be unmitigable and irreversible.”
Interestingly, the TCA's own engineering reports have called the project's long-term impacts into question. In his original assessment of the project dated April 2000, engineer David Skelly concluded that future development within the watershed posed significant threat to the surf breaks:
"The cumulative impacts of other future development within the San Mateo Creek Watershed can result in changes in the water flow conditions, the erosion of the soils, and the amount of sediment delivered to the shoreline. The reduction of sediment delivered to the shoreline may result in shoreline retreat and possibly significant impacts to the surfing resources."
Of course there are other concerns as well - primarily impacts upon the near shore water quality. Ms. Telles' assertion that the project would "improve water quality in the coastal area" is laughable. This assumes that there is something to improve, when in actuality the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board uses coastal area near the mouth of San Mateo Creek as its baseline measurement for clean water. The TCA are offering to fix a problem that doesn't exist. As much as the TCA would like for us believe otherwise, the simple fact is that there has never been a paved road built anywhere that hasn't resulted in contributing to runoff. And no amount of magic pixie dust or PR spin will change this fact. Surfrider Foundation, Matt McClain