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Funding for Encinitas bluff stabilization begins after tragedy

Posted at 5:12 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 20:37:51-05

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — Dr. Pat Davis stood atop the bluffs at Grandview Beach in Encinitas on Friday, holding back tears.

"Bear with me, please," he says. "This is only the second time I've been near the beach since the accident."

That accident, on Aug. 2, 2019. His wife, Julie, daughter Annie, and sister-in-law Elizabeth were on Grandview Beach, when the bluff above them crumbled and fell, killing them.

RELATED: Lawmakers hope $400K federal grant will help prevent future bluff collapse in Encinitas

"Believe you me," Davis says, "It'd be a lot easier to not come down here. I came down here about a week ago for the first time in six months and it was difficult."

But Davis made sure he would be there Friday, to help announce the first significant federal money devoted to help make the bluffs safer.

Congressman Mike Levin announced $400,000 to start the engineering phase of the project to help prevent the tragedy from occurring again.

RELATED: Community, husband of victim push for Encinitas bluff stabilization

"The primary purpose of the project is to stabilize tall bluffs that erode due to high-energy storm swells and rising sea levels, posing threats to life, property and critical infrastructure," Levin said.

There's still a ways to go.

The project needs another roughly $1.5 million dollars for engineering, and it's estimated to cost $30 million to carry out every five to 10 years. Levin said he'd continue to fight for the funds.

RELATED: Geologist Dr. Pat Abbott assesses bluff damage in Encinitas

It's also unclear what the project will entail beyond sand replenishment.

Davis says it's a start, but there's more to be done. He says he'd like to see more education about staying 40 feet from the bluffs; more blunt warning signs saying people have died at the beach; beach closures to families at high tide or when there is no safe are away from the bluffs, and 100-foot safe zones where parents know it is safe for their kids to play.

"I'd like to be able to at least say that I tried to do something," Davis says.