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Sand Transfer Program Underway In Encinitas


A project to replace dwindling sand on one North San Diego County beach may pave the way for similar projects on other county beaches. After a long approvals process, an Encinitas beach is getting sand from a construction site. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has details.


(Photo by Ed Joyce/KPBS )

Trucks brought loads of sand to cover a stretch of the South Ponto Beach shoreline in Encinitas where existing sand is giving way to cobblestones.

South Ponto is one of many San Diego County beaches losing sand because of wave action and development which blocks the natural replenishment process.

Now sand from one downtown Encinitas development is covering the beach.

Cardiff Developer John DeWald says he's glad the sand is ending up on the beach.

DeWald: And we're providing about 40,000 cubic yards of sand, which is essentially what, almost what, Encinitas loses in a year to beach erosion.


(Photo by Ed Joyce/KPBS)

He says the sand had to meet strict testing standards.

DeWald: There's some physical tests we did which is color, consistency,  and also the course granularity of the sand. One thing that's nice is this sand is a little more coarse then the sand that's here so it means it's going to stay on the beach a little bit longer.

DeWald says the sand was also tested for chemical and biological contaminants.

The project required approvals from more than 10 different federal, state and local agencies.

Steve Aceti with the California Coastal Coalition hopes the project can streamline the process so other county beaches can take advantage of opportunistic sand.

Aceti: It's very important for beach quality sand that's being excavated for projects to make its way to the beach. It's kind of balancing out the damage we've done to the ecosystem.

Aceti says keeping sand on beaches translates into dollars.

Aceti: Tourism is a huge, huge industry. Not only in our region but statewide I think it's the second or third biggest industry.

A statewide study shows that going to the beach is one of California's main tourist attractions.

That's one reason replacing sand is good for wildlife and the economy.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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