Sand to beach reclamation effort under way in Encinitas

Beach sand excavated from a development project in downtown Encinitas is being used to replenish an eroding beach area in Encinitas, according to John DeWald, of Cardiff-based John DeWald & Associates, lead development partner in the new $40 million Pacific Station mixed-use development located at 687 South Coast Highway 101.

Rather than sell the beach-quality sand being excavated to make room for Pacific Station, DeWald partnered with the City of Encinitas and other groups to create the sand to beach project. More than 37,000 cubic yards of sand will be transferred from the project site to the eroded beach area nearPonto State Beach in northern Encinitas.

Officials including Encinitas Mayor Maggie Houlihan and California Coastal Coalition executive director Steve Aceti joined DeWald at Ponto Beach on Thursday, January 8 to mark the beginning of the sand transfers. A continuous loop of large, fast moving trucks roared onto Ponto Beach as the officials spoke and cut a ceremonial construction ribbon.

Trucks will continue to deliver sand for several weeks. This opportunistic sand to beach project is a being done in partnership with the City of Encinitas and with the cooperation of the City ofCarlsbad and is intended to replace sand that is regularly lost from the beaches along the coast.

“Each year Encinitas loses an estimated 50,000 cubic yards of sand off its beaches due to tidal and wave action,” said DeWald, a resident of theCardiff area. In the past this sand was replaced by deposits from lagoon flows and other sources but human activities have greatly reduced these sources. Over time the beaches slowly erode exposing the cobblestone bases and narrowing the protective beaches that prevent cliff erosion. These same sand beaches also provide habitat for a variety of shore life and recreation for locals and visitors.

In the past, large dredging operations have been funded to return sand to the beaches however SANDAG, CalCoast and many of the coastal cities have been interested in implementing opportunistic sand to beach restoration projects that would use good beach quality sand from local construction excavation projects. The Pacific Station development will be one of the first to successfully implement a restoration effort under this new approach. The project will provide approximately 37,000 cubic yards of sand to the beach.

Nearly the amount lost in one year along Encinitas’s beaches. It is being placed at South Ponto Beach in Leucadia near the north end of Encinitas. This location was selected as it has some of the most severe beach erosion problems and because of the southerly coastal flow the sand will migrate to other Encinitas beaches over time.

The City of Encinitas, Pacific Station Properties and John DeWald & Associates, with the support of Steve Aceti and CalCoast have worked for over a year to finalize plans and work through the complex permitting process requiring approvals from over 10 federal, state and local agencies and municipalities. Agencies cooperating in this effort included the USEPA, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife, CA Coastal Commission, CA Fish and Game, CA State Lands, CA State Parks, The City OF Encinitas, City of Carlsbad, and SANDAG.

For more information about Pacific Station, visit