Marin County Residents Concerned Over an Eroding Sea Wall

The town of Belvedere is betting on its damaged sea wall to last through the month of December.

Leaders of the Marin County town decided Monday to wait until January to make the needed repairs. But the specialized steel needed for the wall won’t be delivered until early next year. 

A levee currently protects the lowlands of Belvedere and one of two sea walls has sand bags that provide temporary protection from the crashing waves.

Residents who live near the sea wall are concerned over the vulnerable structure.

“You know, when it gets bad, I have to stand here and time the waves,” said Belvedere resident Mary Hunter.

Jim Allen and his family own nearly 200 properties on either side of the sea wall. His grandparents helped establish the city of Belvedere, and now the homes are being threatened.

“It always erodes underneath the road or underneath the sidewalk; anyway there’s a cave,” Allen said.

The repair will cost half a million dollars for sheet pilings that will be planted 25 feet in the mud. The steel would be saltwater resistant, but residents will have to wait.

A particularly high tide known as the King Tide is expected to come just before Christmas, which concerns homeowners.

“That’s a little worrisome because, well, if you look this direction it’s downhill to our house, and the tides come really high,” Kristin Hoefer of Belvedere said.

As the Bay Area begins to get some rain, city managers say they are prepared if there is a breach in the wall.

“I don’t think the King Tide is going to cause a problem,” City Manager Craig Middleton said.

A breach is not the only thing residents should worry about, as climate change also plays a factor in the erosion of the wall.

Jim Allen said he saw the issue 20 years ago and has had the foundations of his property rebuilt so that it could be raised two to three feet when he needs to.

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