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Replacing Sand On Thinning San Diego Beaches

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Aired 2/3/11

San Diego County beaches are a big draw, pulling a powerful tide of dollars into the region. But several beaches continue to lose sand.

The natural replenishment processes that bring sand to many county beaches have been mostly blocked by development.

Army Corps of Engineers dredge and fill project at Mission Beach, just north of Belmont Park.
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Above: Army Corps of Engineers dredge and fill project at Mission Beach, just north of Belmont Park.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) plans to widen several county beaches in spring 2012, including Encinitas and Imperial Beach.

"One of the primary reasons we do this is for shoreline protection and to protect infrastructure investments and property along the shoreline," said Rob Rundle, SANDAG Regional Planner.

But Rundle said without sandy beaches, the region's economy could be short-changed.

"There's also the huge recreational benefit that we have from tourism, and it's a huge part of San Diego's regional economy and we want to make sure we have healthy beaches in the region," Rundle said.

The last time SANDAG piled sand on beaches was 2001.

"Unlike (last time), where it was all federal and state funds that paid for the project, this time there is a financial commitment on the part of the local cities," said Rundle.

Rundle said the participating cities would pay their share of the estimated $24 million project based on how much sand they get.

He said two meetings Thursday in San Diego and Imperial Beach will provide more information about the project and give people a chance to comment on it.

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