SANDAG replenishes Solana Beach beaches with nearby offshore sand

By Claire Harlin

Solana Beach is set to receive 140,000 cubic yards of sand on its beaches in early November as part of a $28.5 million regional restoration project conducted by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

Solana Beach is one of eight replacement sites along the county’s coast, with sand being borrowed from three offshore sites: Mission Beach, off Del Mar near the San Dieguito Lagoon, and off Swami’s beach near the San Elijo Lagoon, just north of Solana Beach. The most sand was planned to be removed from the 124-acre dredge area off of Del Mar’s coast, according to the project Environmental Impact Report, however, Del Mar chose not to receive more sand on its beaches due to fiscal decisions.

As of late October, equipment has already been placed on the beaches around Fletcher Cove to start dredging, and SANDAG suggests using caution in the water and on the beach during this process. In addition, the South Cardiff State Beach parking lot is being used intermittently through as late as mid-November, however, the work takes place at night while the parking lot is closed for public use.

The Regional Beach Sand Project, which kicked off in September and has already culminated in Imperial Beach and Oceanside, is funded by the five participating cities — Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside and Imperial Beach — as well as the state’s Department of Boating and Waterways. According to SANDAG, Solana Beach’s contribution to the project is about $335,000 and comes at least in part from the California Coastal Commission Sand Mitigation Fund — which is collected from property owners to mitigate the adverse impacts of shoreline protective structures such as seawalls.

A nearly identical project took place in 2001, and Solana Beach Mayor Joe Kellejian said in a memo that this project builds on the success of that one.

“As the vice chair of the SANDAG Shoreline Preservation Working Group, I have led the effort since 2007 along with my coastal colleagues to implement a second beach replenishment project,” he said. “Since that time we have conducted the required environmental review and obtained all of the permits and approvals needed to place sand back on the region’s eroded beaches. Representatives from various state agencies, including the California Department of Boating and Waterways, California Department of Fish and Game, California Coastal Commission, California state parks and many others came together for the benefit of the region and have worked tirelessly to make this project a reality.”