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Imperial Beach, Five Others Get Added Sand, Video System For Monitoring Wave Quality

A video system will monitor changing surf conditions at beaches being replenished with sand, the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation announced today.

The Imperial Beach Pier in April 2011.
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Above: The Imperial Beach Pier in April 2011.

The $28 million beach restoration project by the San Diego Association of Governments is set to begin next month at eight beaches, starting in Imperial Beach. When sand was added to the beach most recently, the waves improved for surfing in some spots and deteriorated in others, according to Julia Chunn-Heer, a Surfrider campaign coordinator.

Cameras set up by CoastalComs will enable remote monitoring of surf conditions at the six beaches, Chunn-Heer said. A daily archive of images wil be created to track changes in surf quality.

"We hope the surf spot monitoring will become a required component for future projects,'' she told City News Service. "San Diego county government has been proactive with its coastal management policies to maintain beach width -- we feel they should be proactive with maintaining quality surf spots as well."

Chunn-Heer said the video monitoring is being paid for by Surfrider and a county of San Diego neighborhood reinvestment grant.

According to SANDAG, the sand replenishment project will move on to Oceanside in early October, followed by Moonlight Beach and Cardiff State Beach in Encinitas and near the Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad. In November, the replenishment will take place in Solana Beach and other areas along the shore in Carlsbad.

Equipment has been moved to Imperial Beach over the last couple of days to prepare for the project, resulting in restricted vehicle access to Descanso Avenue and Seacoast Drive, SANDAG reported. About half the spots in the Descanso Avenue parking lot near the beach could be taken up by equipment until mid-October.

On Wednesday, sand will start being pumped onto Imperial Beach near Cortez Avenue.

The work will continue around the clock, seven days a week, unless interrupted by weather.

Added sand beautifies the beaches and provides a buffer to erosion during winter storms. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center says El Nino conditions are setting up in the equatorial Pacific, and that typically means a wetter-than-normal winter in Southern California.

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