General Checklist for Preparing Shoreline Property for Winter Storms
(courtesy of the California Coastal Commission)


  1. Inspect Structures
  2. Visually inspect all seawalls, cave fills, bulkheads, etc., for signs of distress, loss of material, obstructed drainage, exposed reinforcing steel, etc. Inspect these structures before the storm season and after every storm. If significant problems are observed, it may be advisable to contact an engineer for maintenance suggestions.

  3. Inspect the Beach Areas
  4. Visually inspect the area seaward of all seawalls, revetments, cave fills and bulkheads for objects which could become battering rams or damaging projectiles during a storm event (sailboards, furniture, etc.) It is advisable to remove such objects from the beach or secure them so that they will not cause any damage during a storm.

  5. Blufftop Inspections
  6. Visually inspect all blufftop retaining walls, wall drains, surface drains, culverts ditches, etc. for obstructions or other signs of malfunction, before the storm season, and after every storm event.

  7. Inspecting Slopes
  8. Inspect all sloped areas for signs of gulling, surface cracks, slumping etc. Also inspect patios, retaining and garden walls for signs of cracking or rotation. Such signs might be indications of slope movement. If you notice any problems, it would be prudent to have the site inspected by a geotechnical engineer.

  9. Extraordinary Protection
  10. Many properties will be safe during normal storms, but could be at risk during an extreme storm event. Given predictions that El Niño may cause extreme storm conditions this winter, individual property owners and communities may want to add temporary and removable protection. Examples of temporary protection are: banking or berming existing sand or cobble against bluffs, bulkheads, seawalls, etc.; adding to existing sand with a bluff, bulkhead, seawall, placing keyed-in articulated concrete matting on beaches (only at beach and dune locations with engineered designs for placement and anchoring); vegetating exposed slopes.

  11. Contact Permitting Staff
  12. Talk with or write to Coastal Commission staff now about actions you may want to take prior to the storm season. In general, it may be possible to expedite the permit process for projects that: a) have little or no environmental impact b) have little or no effect on public access and reaction c) are temporary d) are removable, and e) pose no risk to public safety Emergency permits may be issued when sudden, unexpected events occur requiring immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of life, health , property or essential public services. Timely coordination with Coastal Commission staff can ensure prompt protective action.