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On the Cultural and Historical Treatment of the 1909 Rock Revetment in the City of Redondo Beach Nov. 2015 The Waterfront Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

Rock revetment is an obvious key pre-existing feature of the re-development project discussed in the City of Redondo Beach Nov. 2015 "The Waterfront" Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR). A drawing of rock revetment is even front and center on the cover of the Nov. 2015 The Waterfront Draft EIR (Figure 1).

This brief report is a critique of the city's EIR. The EIR has in it remarkably silly corporate propaganda about the first tons of granite boulders put on the famous original beach here in 1909. This report specifically looks at the city's write-up of the history of itself and it's description of what happened to the beach as a natural resource - this resource being of course the reason for the city's existence in the first place (read "Beach").

Figure 1: Cover of Nov. 2015 The Waterfront Draft EIR, Note: drawing of rock revetment:

Three Google Earth screenshots of study area with markup indicating approximate extent of the original pebble beach and location of the old rock revetment or "1909 Huntington Breakwater".

Figure 2:

Figure 3:

Figure 4:

Figure 5: Photo of old rock revetment taken January 9, 2015, 3pm - looking north

Figure 6: Photo of old rock revetment taken January 9, 2015, 3pm - looking south

The rock revetment was installed there in 1909 and is still there today. This 700 feet of granite boulders is the first significant destruction of the original beach in Redondo Beach history. The original waterfront had a world-class pebble and sand beach - a highly prized natural resource. The act of replacing 700 feet of this beach in 1909 with tons of granite boulders also set in motion a cultural pattern for the further destruction of the entire original famous north beach. All now gone - all replaced by rock revetment. Even if the first 700 feet of old rock revetment is now removed and replaced with sand and pebbles, the process by corporations of ravaging of the entire north beach as a prized natural resource, has been through and permanent and this sad fact is the unspoken parameters defining the place today and its future.

So, why is the EIR instead of discussing the actual history of the waterfront and the significant impact the 1909 rock revetment had on the environment - it treats the 1909 event with the following silly corporate propaganda:

"After stabilizing the shoreline with a substantial rock revetment, a series of new Huntington-financed attractions went up."

This text appears in two places in the city's EIR. In the Cultural Resources section 3.4-13 and the Historical Resources Appendix E2, page 14, both under "Redondo Beach History".

Note: "stabilizing the shoreline". This is corporate propaganda.

Download and read the Cultural Resources section (pdf, 2.5 MB), see page 13 of the pdf file.

Download and read the Historical Resources Appendix (pdf, 7 MB), see page 19 of the pdf file.

Also, below are two images of the two EIR pages containing the text about the 1909 rock revetment.

Brief Analysis

The EIR is political technology designed to legitimize the City of Redondo Beach as sponsor of the EIR in the face of the ravaging of the beach as a natural resource. The city and it's consultants and contractors have to spin the existence of the rock revetment as something positive, like protecting capital investment, instead of providing in the EIR the actual history of the rock revetment and the cultural pattern it set in place leading to the destruction of the entire famous north pebble beach, the original tourist attraction of the waterfront. Corporate historical footprint continues in the November 2015 EIR which is further compounding the cumulative effect of the corporate ecological footprint.

The reality is obviously when you put tons of granite boulders on a beach it destroys a beach and expensive structures should not have been built on the beach in the first place - because the shoreline was naturally stable in it's own way. Originally, when there was a big storm and the sand was removed by the storm - wait a few days and the natural beach process restored the sand. The original beach was stable in it's own natural way.

Excerpt: newspaper article, Los Angeles Times, January 12, 1914, page 18, "Redondo Beach Crowd. Thousands of Visitors Visit the Scene of the Recent Tidal Demonstration - Damage Nominal"

"With the exception of Monday's tide, that of today was the highest of the season, and contrary to the expections of every one. in place of continued embrasions looked for, the holes started to fill, an indication that the danger was over. It is contended that in a few days, if the filling action is continued, the contour of the beach will be the same as it was previous to the action of the high tides.

This is an interesting phenomena when consideration is taken of the fact that one embrasion alone in the bank is over 500 feet and that thousands of tons of sand, which had been carried away, is now being brought back to the place taken from by the action of the water."

Despite the fact the shoreline was naturally stable, the write up in the City of Redondo Beach Nov. 2015 "The Waterfront" EIR about the 1909 rock revetment which again reads:

"After stabilizing the shoreline with a substantial rock revetment, a series of new Huntington-financed attractions went up."
Compare the EIR write up of the rock revetment as "stabilizing the shoreline" to an artifact not in the EIR of the actual history of the 1909 rock revetment. The following newspaper piece in the Redondo Reflex describes an actual observation of what happened to the shore line right after the rock revetment was installed, it reads: "Since the building of the breakwater in front of the Pavilion, an interesting change in the shore line is noted. The sand is gradually washing higher and at present an old pile which formerly stood four feet above the surface of the shore is now on a level with it."

- from The Redondo Reflex, September 9, 1909

For more actual historical documentation, photos and analysis, etc - I wrote a four part report about it some time ago. See: 1909 Huntington Breakwater. Some of the analysis on this my previous report on the old rock revetment needs to be updated as I've learned more since I posted that report. The actual history just gets more interesting.

The more you know about the reality of the famous original beach at Redondo Beach and what actually happened to the beach, the sillier corporate propaganda trying to frame the conventional historical wisdom of the place obviously becomes.

And it's not just the treatment of the old rock revetment in this EIR that is silly, its any subject of cultural and historical significance involving the original natural resources of the place gets footprinted. For instance, including the treatment of the salt works and what happened to it. About the famous salt works this EIR writes "The enterprise never flourished and after several changes in ownership, the salt works was abandoned around the turn of the century." This is silly corporate propaganda. In part and as a whole, the city's cultural and historical write up in this EIR is a knot of incorrect facts, shifting baseline rationale and irony. The result is the EIR is very nihilistic. It negates the meaning of human existence for thousand years at the waterfront.

The current Corporate Culture on the waterfront is the opposite of stable. These corporate sponsored environmental impact reports are so silly they state that the original natural resources here were unstable and imply that the various works of cultures of people who exploited the original natural resources here and left those resources in tact, (which includes the previous American culture that ended here about 1901) were unstable people too - you know, completing that never flourished / obsolete and abandoned language or code corporate propagandists use to describe people who worked with natural resources previous to corporations taking over and destroying those resources.

So, What would I do at this project site? I've got my own project called Restoring a New Old Baseline. The entire place should be a Waterfront Interpretive Center, with little or ideally no corporate presence.

_____ End Notes _____

(2) Images: EIR pages with text about the 1909 rock revetment:

[ 2015 EIR Waterfront Cultural Resources, page 3.4-13 ]

[ 2015 EIR Waterfront Historic Resources Appendix E2, page 14 ]