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Blowing In The Wind? Spending Millions On Disappearing San Diego Beach Sand

Aired 2/3/16 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Blowing In The Wind? Spending Millions On Disappearing San Diego Beach Sand


Alison St. John, reporter, KPBS News

Gary Griggs, Director, Institute of Marine Sciences, UC Santa Cruz


All up and down the San Diego coast, sand from our much-touted beaches, particularly in North County, has disappeared.

Sometimes all beachgoers find is pebbles.

In 2012, the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, spent $28 million in public funds on the Regional Beach Sand Replacement Project. Workers spread 1.5 million cubic yards of the valuable stuff on eight public beaches from Oceanside to Imperial Beach.

There's not much left.

Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz, said that is only natural. Tides wash away sand, and higher tides and sea levels result from global warming.

Beaches which face cliffs, as they often do here, were probably never very wide, Griggs said. The great expanses of sand you burn your feet on in Miami, Hawaii or even New York City, are all flatland.

Alison St. John looked into conditions at our winter beaches, particularly in at-risk locations like Solana Beach, where the cliffs are crumbling to the beach below.

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