Leslea Meyerhoff of Summit Environmental Group has been tapped by the City of San Clemente to serve as its Coastal Administrator, City Manager Andy Hall announced at the City Council’s meeting Tuesday, Sept. 5.
Meyerhoff, who founded Summit Environmental and serves as its principal, will fulfill the role designated to coordinate coastal management programs and permitting activities, in addition to a host of other responsibilities.
She highlighted that San Clemente was ahead of other coastal cities in relation to protecting its shoreline with the recent progress on the San Clemente Shoreline Protection Project, and spoke to her prior work for the city as a consultant and contractor.
“I’m very happy to be able to continue in that capacity, and to expand it a little bit to help meet some of the goals and objectives of the city with respect to sand and sand retention,” Meyerhoff said. “(I’m) very pleased to be here.”
The position was created as an initiative from a council subcommittee comprising Councilmembers Victor Cabral and Mark Enmeier, who directed staff to include the job in the city’s Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget and create a competitive salary range. The city’s salary schedule lists the range as between $113,921.60 and $138,486.40 yearly, although City Clerk Laura Campagnolo confirmed Meyerhoff is not a city employee.
Meyerhoff, according to Hall, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees related to urban planning and environmental studies. She was also the former director of the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association.
Hall also mentioned her previous accomplishments for San Clemente, which included the preparation of numerous key planning documents and grant applications and the reestablishment of the Shoreline Monitoring Program.
“(We) really appreciate the fact that she is willing to change her business model a little bit and be more dedicated to the City of San Clemente going forward,” said Hall. “She’s a very hot commodity, works for a lot of cities and counties and even SANDAG, which is the San Diego Association of Governments.”
Cabral referenced he and Enmeier’s lengthy work in attempting to have someone work on matters related to sand replenishment and retention for the city on a more permanent basis.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “Things don’t move easily in government, as we all know, but we’re depending on you to get this done … We really do appreciate you being here and taking the lead on this.”
According to the city’s page on governmentjobs.com, Meyerhoff’s responsibilities will include managing the sand replenishment and retention program, communicating with regulatory groups and agencies on local shoreline issues, and conducting and reporting research of coastline conditions, among other duties.
“The position is responsible for oversight of coastal issues and resource management including sand transport and replenishment, coastal habitat restoration, coastal resiliency planning, coastal revetment management and permitting, and river/creek maintenance and restoration efforts in accordance with federal and state regulations, local laws, and policies,” the description stated.
Meyerhoff on Tuesday night updated the public on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)’ sand replenishment project in San Clemente, which included an update concerning the California State Lands Commission’s final Aug. 17 approval of a 49-year project lease.
That approval will allow the USACE to award a contract for the project later this month, likely with the firm Manson Construction.
Project mobilization is expected to begin in October, with construction to start in November over a period of 46 days. Dredging will occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with onshore equipment operations occurring 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The contractor is working right now on the Columbia River, on the Oregon-Washington border,” said Meyerhoff. “They have another project they need to do in Northern California; once that is complete, they will move to San Clemente.”
Other upcoming activities include pre-construction monitoring for biological resources, beach width analysis, water quality sampling, and surf resource monitoring.
The city will also look to develop a public outreach plan to keep residents and visitors safe during construction, according to Meyerhoff.
Additionally, residents are encouraged to attend a meeting at the Council Chambers on Sept. 27, when the city will present design concepts related to the ongoing Nature-Based Coastal Resiliency Study.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the date on which the council’s meeting occurred. The council met on Sept. 5.