Santa Catalina Island Co. to replace boat launch ramp

Avalon officials say Pebbly Beach landing is damaged and pose major issues to water quality and marine resources.

REDONDO BEACH — An application to replace a landing and launch ramp at Pebbly Beach just outside of Avalon was approved by the California Coastal Commission during its April meetings in Redondo Beach.

Santa Catalina Island Co. specifically proposed an in-kind replacement of a 30-foot-by-105-foot concrete landing and launch ramp. The news launch ramp will be made of precast concrete panels, four 15-foot long H-piles and four 12-inch-by-12-inch square concrete sleeper rails, according to a commission staff report.

The launch ramp application was approved as part of the Coastal Commission’s consent calendar on April 12.

“The existing ramp sustained damage as a result of the large south swells caused by Hurricane Eugene during the week of July 10, 2017, which undermined the existing landing and launch ramp,” commission staff stated in a report to commissioners.

The boat launch ramp was built in the 1940s. It was part of a transportation terminal, which, according to the Coastal Commission, serves as an “access point for travelers using seaplane transport services, and now serves the island community as an access ramp to a dry land boatyard.”

Boats regularly launch in and out of the water year-round by commercial tour operators and fisherman.

Recreational boaters also use the launch ramp to access long-term boat storage or maintenance, according to commission staff.

“The ramp serves as an important water access point for public agency emergency response vehicles, boats, and seaplanes for the delivery of fire-fighting equipment,” Coastal Commission staff stated. “The currently dilapidated condition of the launch ramp limits access for emergency vehicles to provide necessary emergency services to the nearby and populated city of Avalon, which necessitates that the repairs are conducted expeditiously.

An engineer with the city of Avalon stated swell action likely eroded the launch ramp’s underlying grated support, ultimately causing the ramp to collapse and render it as non-functional.

Construction of the new launch ramp and landing should take about six months, according to commission staff.

“The proposed boat launch and landing do not result in the additional fill of coastal waters,” Coast Commission staff stated. “The proposed development has been conditioned to minimize any significant adverse effect the project may have on the environment by avoiding or mitigating impacts upon sensitive marine resources, such as eelgrass and will not contribute to the dispersal of the invasive aquatic algae, Caulerpa taxifolia.”

The California Coastal Commission met at Redondo Beach Public Library, April 11-13.

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