Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Department of Public Works



October 23, 2009


November 10, 2009







Honorable Board of Supervisors


James C. Porter, Director of Public Works


Seal Cove Trail Improvement Project - Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach Area [Project No. OD342, F-385 (25B)]



Adopt a resolution:



Adopting plans and specifications, dated November 6, 2009, including conformance with prevailing wage scale requirements and calling for sealed proposals on Monday, November 30, 2009 at 2:30 p.m., for the Seal Cove Trail Improvement Project (Project) - Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach Area.



Authorizing the Director of Public Works to file a new Notice of Exemption for a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Categorical Exemption.



The Seal Cove Trail slope from the bluff to the beach is extremely steep and has been subject to erosion. Access to the shoreline consists of deteriorated railroad tie steps and a footpath that has eroded, making shoreline access difficult. The Conceptual Plan for Interpretation at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve identified the Seal Cove Trail as a critical access to the beach that should be repaired. The Project design plans and specifications were completed in June 2008, but the project did not move forward at that time due to a lack of funding. Full funding has now been secured and the project can proceed.


Your Board adopted Resolution Number 068263 on September 12, 2006, which authorized acceptance of funding of $125,000 from the California State Lands Commission. This funding was expected to fully fund the Seal Cove Trail Stair Access Project. However, after the design commenced, it was found that the bluff was too unstable and erosive for the original design concept. Extensive engineering and geotechnical work was conducted to redesign the Project into its current workable configuration. This redesign has resulted in a project that is now estimated to cost $314,000 to construct. After the design work and preparation of plans and specifications, $45,000 of the original grant funding amount remains for the Project.


Your Board adopted Resolution Number 069373 on April 22, 2008, which authorized acceptance of grant funding of $400,000 from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for Interpretative Exhibits at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. However, the exhibit is not being produced, and the Parks Department has received approval to reallocate that portion of the grant funds to the Seal Cove Trail Improvement Project and related interpretative elements. This reallocation will fund the balance of the Project costs.



The Department of Public Works is assisting the Parks Department by performing the bidding, contracting, and construction inspection portions of this Project, which includes an approximately 160-foot long trail access improvement project near the end of Cypress Avenue at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The trail will connect the bluff to the Seal Cove Beach and Moss Beach Reef. The Project consists of constructing a stairwell from the bluff to the beach with an intermediate viewing platform. The Project will be constructed primarily out of concrete, redwood stair treads, and stainless steel handrails.


In addition to improving public access, the Project will facilitate the environmental educational activities and scientific research that occurs at the environmentally sensitive Reserve. The Project is the preferred location for access by the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve docents who lead nature walks for elementary school students.


A geotechnical assessment was prepared to evaluate the repair or replacement of the existing stairs and footpath and replacement was found to be the preferred alternative. A California Coastal Commission Waiver De Minimis Number 2-07-043-W has been issued and became effective on April 11, 2008, and a California Environmental Quality Act Notice of Exemption was filed with the County on March 19, 2008. A new Notice will need to be filed upon adoption of this finalized Project by your Board.


We recommend that your Board adopt the plans and specifications for this Project and call for sealed proposals for the proposed work since the required funding has been secured. County Counsel has reviewed and approved the Resolution as to form.


This action contributes to the Shared Vision 2025 outcome of a Healthy Community by contributing to a plan to build recreational, commuter, regional and connecting trail systems on County Parks’ properties for the benefit of the public. The Parks Department views the Seal Cove Trail as essential for beach access and interpreter-led and informal wildlife viewing opportunities of the beach and reef by visitors.



The estimated cost of construction is $314,400, as follows:


California State Lands Commission

$ 45,000


National Marine Sanctuary Foundation






There is no impact to the General Fund.