According to a population census taken on Nov. 25 by husband and wife Thom and Kim Akeman, volunteers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s shoreline program Bay Net, the Pacific Grove Harbor seal population has declined by one-third. Numbers have plunged from about 700 individuals, based on preliminary counts taken by Monterey Bay Aquarium researcher Teri Nicholson in the 1990s, to fewer than 500 in the last couple of years, the Akemans reported. Uncharacteristically warm waters, which depleted the marine environment of oxygen and food, are to blame, they added.
Newcomer Acheman’s Seal Posse Reports Drop In Seals
Can’t tell which is fake?
Just as big waves wash away carefully constructed sand castles, El Niño threatens to transform Monterey County beaches and coastlines.
Every winter rainy season brings storms and heavy surf that erode shores and wash away sand, which waves return to the coast in summer. But El Niño generates extra rain and higher sea levels, which increases the erosion during intense and windy storms, affecting coastal bluffs and beaches around Carmel, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and Monterey.
Residents and city officials are not taking any chances. For example, in Pacific Grove, residents are considering whether to buttress the shoreline by building seawalls to protect property or retreat to higher ground further inland and protect the natural shoreline.
“I believe this is a very important question,” said Anthony Ciani, an architect and member of Sustainable Pacific Grove. A small survey conducted by the organization found that people currently seem to favor retreating, he said.
El Nino In A Match Against Substainable Pacific Grove