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 Will Rogers State Beach: A Treasure on the Edge of the City
See also:
   L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors - Will Rogers State Beach
   City of Santa Monica - Santa Monica State Beach
   L.A. County Fire Department - Lifeguard Division
   L.A. County Department of Public Health - Beach Water Quality

   Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission
   The Bay Foundation
   Heal the Bay

   Tide Forecast
Located on Santa Monica Bay, Will Rogers State Beach sits at the base of Temescal Canyon.  Looking to the south is the Santa Monica Pier, further in the distance are Venice, Marina del Rey, LAX, Torrance and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  To the north is Malibu and Point Dume.  About 45 miles out in the ocean, sometimes partially visible, is Catalina Island. 

As the beach is bordered by the busy Pacific Coast Highway, close to a major urban area and readily accessible, it gets a lot of visitors.  The beach serves a broad range of recreational purposes including morning walks or runs (sometimes with dogs, although they are technically not allowed), swimming, surfing, fishing, beach volleyball, or watching a sunset.  For some the swimming may be just splashing in the surf, but in the mornings there are serious swimmers in wetsuits who put in a couple of miles.  On summer weekends, when temperatures soar in the Valley, the beach beckons, parking lots are full, beach umbrellas dot the sand and people welcome the cooling ocean breeze as their kids play in the sand and surf.  Two summer camps operate on the beach.  Sometimes there is a martial arts or workout class.  Workers from the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors keep the beach clean, lifeguards from the L.A. County Fire Department keep beachgoers safe, and workers from the County of Los Angeles Public Health Recreational Waters Program and City of Los Angeles Environmental Monitoring Division  monitor water quality.

Given the large number of people who use the beach one might not expect to find much in the way of sealife, but there is a considerable diversity of species to be found here.  Offshore one sees dolphins on many days, and sometimes one may see a solo seal swimming fairly close to shore.  In addition to the seagulls, which are present year round, other frequently seen birds, depending on the season, include three shore birds: marbled godwits, willets and whimbrels.  Less frequently one or two elegant snowy egrets may patrol the tide line and dart after sand crabs, or a group of least terns, also looking elegant, will cluster on the sand, looking towards the ocean and preening.  Offshore, again depending on the season, one may see several pelicans coasting along the edge of a wave in tight formation, their wing tips just inches away from the water, or individual pelicans dropping from the sky to catch fish.  Other times a primitive looking cormorant may fly by.  In addition to the familiar birds, sometimes a few migrating birds stop by for just a day or two; one must turn to the bird book or the internet to figure out what they are.

The tide washes up all manner of things onto the shore, giving clues on what is happening out under the ocean's surface.  For example, seaweed holdfasts are good places to look for organisms, including small brittle stars.  Along the shore there are always shells or bits of shells, and sometimes sea slugs, egg cases, jellyfish bits or other sealife can be found.  Unfortunately there is also litter—food packaging, bits of plastic, beach toys, sunglasses, discarded clothing and more—but fortunately there are some beachgoers who bring bags and pick up the trash as they are walking.  A few times a year patches of tar wash up.

The rocks at low tide provide a good opportunity for close observation.  From hundreds of small crabs and isopods speeding for cover when one approaches, to snails and limpets crawling almost imperceptibly across the rock surfaces, there is a lot of activity.  Even stationary animals such as mussels and barnacles are busy feeding when the tide is in.  Small brown and green algae grow on the rocks.  Seagulls stop to rest and preen their feathers.  In the sand along the shore there is plenty of activity as well but not much is visible.  Myriad sand crabs, worms and bivalves make there home in the sand. 

In short, Will Rogers Beach is a treasure at the edge of the city.

See also:
L.A. County (2).  "Los Angeles County Beach History."

Chad E. Nelson.  "Geology & Morphodynamics of the Santa Monica Bay: The Fight Against Erosion" [Chapter 2 in "Mitigation Through Surf Enhancement,"  Master's Project from 1996].  Beachapedia.

Flavia Potenza.  "PCH Beach Retrospective."  M'Online.  May 18, 2018.

Malibu Lagoon

Most of the photos are from the stretch of Will Rogers State Beach between Temescal Canyon south to the lifeguard station, particularly on the three rock jetties.  There are also some from the south end of Will Rogers beach around Entrada Dr. and a from the north part of Santa Monica Beach to the Santa Monica Pier.  To the north Will Rogers State Beach actually runs as far  as Castle Rock Beach, a bit short of the  road up to the Getty Museum.  Starting from the Temescal Canyon Storm Drain is a fairly uninteresting stretch of beach—not much washes up here and there are no jetties, followed by another uninteresting stretch in front of the Bel-Air Bay Club, a rocky area with some tidepools, Pacific Coast Highway, Sunset Beach and the surfers, Gladstones, Porto Marina Beach and Castle Rock Beach.