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Winning design for Oceanside sand retention project headed to City Council

Oceanside’s beaches are iconic, but year after year, the sandy shores continue to shrink and need solutions. KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says the city council will soon consider a final design for a sand retention project that aims to restore beaches in the north county city.

RE: BEACH is the city of Oceanside’s Coastal Resilience Competition. It has brought together three international design teams to develop sand retention pilot projects.

Oceanside’s Coastal Zone Administrator Jayme Timberlake said sand retention has been a decades-long problem in the city.

“We have been battling sand erosion since the beginning of the boat basin construction, which is the Camp Pendleton federal boat basin ... built in 1942,” she said.


Despite bringing in tons of sand to help the issue over the years, the tide continues to wash the added help back out to sea.

Surfer and Oceanside Boardriders Club secretary Chris Abad hopes to once again be able to relax on beaches across southern Oceanside, where he used to sit in the sand.

“There used to be just unlimited beach to enjoy, now not so much,” Abad said.

RE:BEACH seeks to offer a potential solution.

Last week, the city of Oceanside hosted its final public workshop on the three proposals that include dunes, peninsulas, and artificial reefs.

A few people stand on the rocky seashore at Oceanside's Buccaneer Beach, Dec. 18, 2023.
Carolyne Corelis
A few people stand on the rocky seashore at Oceanside's Buccaneer Beach, Dec. 18, 2023.

A jury deliberated and chose a winning concept to be announced in the coming month.

Bob Ashton, president and CEO of Save Oceanside Sand, sits on that jury.

“The ocean and the beach are our biggest economic driver. We’re a beach city,” he said.

The city previously had a plan in 2021 to install a series of groins — jetty-like structures that hold sand on the beach.

Coastal towns to the south, such as Carlsbad, pushed back with concerns about natural sand flows to other county beaches.

“What we’re trying to do now is soften that approach,” Timberlake said. “Find some more innovative solutions that have been used throughout the world in communities that are already dealing with this or dealing with sea level rise.”

She said RE:BEACH will act as an important buffer — providing time to find better solutions for beach erosion.

“It’s a 30-year design life. We are asking the teams to design a solution that will accommodate two to three feet of sea level rise,” Timberlake said.

The Oceanside City Council is expected to consider the jury recommendation at the end of January.

The California Coastal Commission would have to approve any decision passed by the Council.

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