The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) completed its beach and dune improvement project at Alameda Point in December 2020. The complete facelift comes on the heels of the city upgrading the nearby boat ramp. The area is accessible from Central Avenue next to Encinal High School.
The beach is a popular launch site for non-motorized watercraft, such as kayaks, outrigger canoes, and paddle boards. The EBRPD project has greatly enhanced recreational functionality by providing easier access to the water from the parking lot down to the beach. The new landscaping has also improved the overall aesthetics of the shoreline.
The entire dune was scraped clean of ice plant. Then, sand was delivered to raise the dune elevation to the top of the rock wall holding it in place. The top of the dune was then sculpted with more sand into a series of dome shapes called hillocks. The dune was seeded with native plant seeds that hopefully will be sprouting by Spring. Sand fencing was installed to provide stability as the dune matures to a wildlife-habitat-friendly landscape.
Habitat restoration signage and a split-rail fence around the dune discourage visitors from entering the dune area. Dogs are prohibited on the beach as a sanitation measure, as on all EBRPD swimming beaches, which will also benefit the myriad species of birds that forage in this area.
The beach itself was bolstered with more sand to provide resilience to sea level rise. A rusted-out barge hull that once served to stabilize the shoreline when the jetty system was built in the 1940s was removed, and a new rock shoreline was constructed to slope down from the Bay Trail.
In early 2020, the city completed the new and improved boat launch facility. Two new boat launch docks were installed, one for motorized craft and one for kayaks, and the ramp was widened to allow two vehicles at the same time. A new restroom and an outdoor shower and fish cleaning station were also part of the project.
“Combined, the improvements to the beach and the boat launch facility revitalized an incredible public amenity with breathtaking views and recreational opportunities for Alamedans and people from around the Bay Area,” said Amy Wooldridge, Alameda Recreation and Parks Director. “I truly appreciate the partnership and cooperation with the East Bay Regional Park District and its staff on these projects. The pandemic has shown us that park facilities such as these are essential for the mental and physical health of our community and the usage continues to grow each day.”
Both the beach and the boat launch facility are official trailheads for the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail. The beach has not been officially named by the city since it was received from the Navy.
Originally published in the Alameda Sun.