The Sand Spit and the Bay

Is the Estuary Filling With Blown Sand?

The Blowouts Are Stable



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The SAND SPIT and the BAY

By Curt Beebe


In 2003 on a dare from Mary Lezier, I set out to ‘re-vegetate the blowouts on the Sand Spit, which were scars from World War II’. I got technical advice from the best – Jack Biegle and Phil Gross – and a two acre experimental plot in the dunes from ecologist Mike Walgren. Mike asked me to also keep up my measurement of “Sand Encroachment”, and that led directly to the story I am going to tell.

You see, fellow docents (at the Museum of Natural History in Morro Bay) Ernie Eddy and George Mason had driven a stake at the eastern edge of the slip face at Suicide Hill. They measured an amazing 10 feet of movement in 2 ½ years.

That led me to drive a second stake, and a third. By November I had stakes all up and down the Sand Spit. Then I got really lucky; the December 22 earthquake occurred, a once-in-a-hundred years event.

        Bear with me, and I’ll share with you an incredible adventure!



Especial thanks to Cheryl Lesinsky of NEP for helping me access maps, and to Professor David Chipping of Cal Poly for sage advice about protecting the habitat.


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