Palo Seco is a small community, but it plays an important role in Puerto Rico’s culture, recreation, and infrastructure. Palo Seco is located just west of San Juan, on the eastern flank of Ensenada de Boca Vieja, a major coastal bay and distinct coastal compartment. Palo Seco is home to a major source of electricity for the metropolitan area, the Palo Seco thermoelectric power plant. Also, just offshore is Isla de Cabras, an important historical and recreational site, connected to the mainland by a causeway that can be accessed only via a local road that is also the main street through Palo Seco. The community faces west, into Ensenada de Boca Vieja, and is exposed to swell from North Atlantic winter storms. Severe long-term erosion and impacts from individual storm events have left most of the waterfront of Palo Seco as a trashy rock revetment. Palo Seco is a very small community, and if not for extenuating circumstances, it would probably not make economic sense to try to stabilize the shoreline. While pure economics may drive many coastal management plans, the cultural and historical considerations, as well as the presence of major utilities, cast a different light on the benefits of stabilizing Palo Seco’s shorefront. An assessment of the coastal hazards was done in May, 2009, and recommendations were made for the community. These include: do nothing, continue to armor the community with large rocks, replenish the beach with sand from a local source, upgrade the seawall, or have a major seawall/ boardwalk/municipal plan.
- Palo Seco,
- Puerto Rico,