King tides causing beach erosion, uprooting of palm trees at Doheny

DOHENY STATE BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- King tides at Doheny State Beach are quickly eroding and toppling palm trees. The high tide paired with a strong swell is leaving behind a path of destruction on the south side of the beach.

Palm trees lining the sand have been uprooted, while others look like they could go any moment. "Due to the king tides, erosion and stuff like that, we're getting eaten alive here," said Max Maxwell from San Clemente.

Maxwell and his friends have been pushed from their daily meeting spot on the beach because waves have pushed sand into the daily use parking lot, prompting California State Parks officials to close it. Two palm trees have fallen and three others are threatened.

"It's really sad because a bunch of guys got together in the 80s and decided to do a little beautification for the area," said Jack Saunderson, who owns a house at Capistrano Beach, overlooking the trees.

Officials say they expect this every year and are waiting until the tide event ends to clean up. They say the trees were planted here without authorization, and there's not much they can do about them. Some residents have ideas. "If we could dig up those palm trees and re-plant them further into the parking lot, because their days are numbered," said Saunderson.

State parks employees did move sand and cobble to protect some of the roads and campgrounds from the tides. Some say they'd like to see the barrier extended, before the erosion gets worse. "It's only going to be there for like five years, then we're going to be sitting across the street on the other side, if nothing's done about it, and that's really sad,' said Maxwell.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.