La Jolla's Goldfish Point, WindanSea landscape plans progress

The cliffs at Goldfish Point would be re-vegetated and paths defined under a plan by Jim Neri.
The cliffs at Goldfish Point would be re-vegetated and paths defined under a plan by Jim Neri.

By Ashley Mackin

Landscape architect Jim Neri made a presentation to the La Jolla Parks and Beaches (LJP&B) advisory committee Oct. 28 about two coastal projects — Goldfish Point erosion control and the final leg of the WindanSea “S-Curve” improvement.

Goldfish Point

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The cliffs at Goldfish Point would be re-vegetated and paths defined under a plan by Jim Neri.

The Goldfish Point erosion control plan underwent changes since the LJP&B committee approved the plan in November 2012, so Neri returned to explain the changes and get new board approval. Neri said the soil on the cliffs at Goldfish Point is eroding, so his plan will use two strategies to slow that process.

The original, and LJP&B-approved plan, called for the re-vegetation of the cliffs at Goldfish Point, with the plant roots holding onto the soil, and a post-and-link barrier defining the paths, so human access would not contribute to further erosion.

However, lifeguards fought the plan, saying they were uncomfortable with climbing over any barrier in the event of an emergency.

Neri reported that Jim Allen, Sunny Jim’s Cave Store owner and project originator, supported changing the plan based on lifeguard needs. “He said, ‘if it’s a problem with the lifeguards, let’s take that part of the project out.’ ”

The alternative, and focus of the LJP&B presentation, was a set of large cobblestones delineating the paths on the rocks. Neri said the stones would be six to eight inches wide and spaced two feet apart. They would be about 60 percent imbedded in the soil so they could not be easily pulled out.

“We came up with creating a trail as coastal access, so there is the same coastal access that everyone enjoys now, but it’s identified now, simply by having some small cobbles and decomposed granite imbedded in the soil, instead of having people running over the entire point,” he explained.

Neri added that people walking all over the rocks not only contributes to the erosion, but inhibits the needed plants from growing. He plans to plant native vegetation that can develop and adapt in the environment at the Cove.

“The idea is we replace the vegetation that was once there, with new vegetation that is adaptable to this very extreme and harsh environment without any supplemental irrigation,” he said. The plants would further outline where it is safe for pedestrians to walk and explore the cliffs.

Hoping for quick approval from the Department of Park and Rec and Department of Asset Management, Neri said the plants would ideally be planted in late December or early January 2014. In those cold and rainy conditions, he said, the plants could take root in their ideal conditions.

A motion to approve the changes to the plan passed unanimously.

The S-Curve

Joking that he has been working on WindanSea improvements his entire life, Neri said he hopes to start the project for the “S-Curve” — the stretch of sidewalk that curves around 201 Bonaire St. and extends along Neptune Place leading to the beach access stairway — soon.

“To date, we have improved the parking lot, we’ve got benches placed along the coast and we have improved the coastal access stairways along this stretch of beach. The one built piece of work we haven’t done is ... the S-Curve,” he said.

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