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Army Corps To Study Sand Erosion On Oceanside Beaches

Photo by Alison St John

Erosion along The Strand in Oceanside, January 2016.

The Army Corps of Engineers is launching a 3-year study on how to mitigate for beach sand loss in Oceanside, partly caused by the Camp Pendleton harbor.

The Army Corps of Engineers is launching a 3-year study on how to mitigate the beach sand loss in Oceanside, partly caused by the Camp Pendleton harbor.

North County beach cities are in a constant battle with Mother Nature as winter storms wash sand away and summer tides bring less of it back. Shoreline studies are helping cities find solutions to retain sand.

The Army Corps held a scoping meeting in Oceanside last week to announce it will launch the study and get public input.

Oceanside has a history of beach erosion in part due to Camp Pendleton's harbor, constructed in 1942. The sea wall protecting the harbor prevents sand from washing down the coast to replenish Oceanside's beaches. The federal government acknowledged responsibility in 1953. Past federal funding has not been sufficient to allow mitigation efforts to fully compensate for the loss.

Kiel Koger, Oceanside public works manager, said federal funding for a 3-year study is good news.

“They'll look at a whole host of things,” Koger said. “They'll look at tidal and wave action. They'll look at erosion. They'll look at the way sand is deposited, the way it moves up and down the coast.”

Solutions could range from adding jetties or natural reefs, to retrofitting the Camp Pendleton jetty wall so sand can be pumped through it.

“It truly is the beginning of the study,” Koger said. “A lot of work on their part has to be done to get sand back on beaches.”

Photo by Alison St John

Waves washing over The Strand in south Oceanside, January 2016.

Once the study is completed there will be additional steps before a permanent sand retention plan is approved and federally funded.

“It's going to be a long process, but we're going to go through it, and hopefully at the end of it we'll have wider, sandier beaches,” Koger said.

Oceanside will continue with annual Army Corps dredging of Oceanside Harbor and sand placement on beaches.

The city is also working to gain approvals for a permit that allows beach-quality sand removed from development sites to be added to the beaches.

Encinitas and Solana Beach completed a joint shoreline study, and had it approved. They are waiting for federal funding for a 50-year sand replenishment project to protect city bluffs and beaches.

Promise Yee is a North County freelance writer. Contact her at promise.yee1@gmail.com. Twitter: @promisenews.

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