Vol. 3, Issue 31, July 31-August 6, 2008

THE LATEST: The city is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a Shoreline Erosion Feasibility Study for a sand replenishment project on the stretch of beach from the restrooms at T Street to Linda Lane. With 500,000 cubic yards of sand pumped onshore from a barge, it would extend the beach area up to an additional 100 feet to the water. The project, which has been in the study process for about eight years, would help protect public facilities including railroad tracks, restrooms, the Marine Safety Department building and other amenities that would otherwise be affected by beach erosion. “The sand replenishment project would prevent damage to public and private facilities such that there’s a cost-benefit ratio,” said Mayor Joe Anderson. In other words, it would cost less to move forward with the project than to replace or repair the facilities in the future.

The price tag for the initial study was $3.2 million, but the federal government picked up half of the tab. The city was responsible for $1.6 million, which was subsidized with $900,000 of state grants. If the plan is approved, additional costs, including design, initial construction and ongoing costs for the 50-year lifelong project is $22.4 million, a cost again shared with the federal government.

Anderson, City Manager George Scarborough, Principal Civil Engineer Tom Bonigut and other city staff attended an Army Corps of Engineers’ conference and internal review Wednesday, July 23 to address beach erosion and determine federal interest in the project. “This is a milestone in the feasibility study process,” said Anderson. “This has been an agonizingly slow process.” The conference attendees discussed existing and future conditions of the beach with and without the sand replenishment project, project alternatives, projected damage if erosion continues and more.

Bonigut says one of the big concerns would be the impact to the surf. “The coastal engineer who modeled this project is not anticipating any significant change to our surf resources,” said Bonigut, “but you can’t be 100 percent sure it won’t be impacted.” Bonigut says they’ll be working with the Surfrider Foundation on the project.

WHAT’S NEXT: Bonigut says the study process should conclude mid-’09, with public input scheduled around February. The next phase would include design of the project. If the all goes well, the sand would be dredged offshore from Oceanside. This project isn’t related to Dana Point Harbor’s dredging project, where sand will be placed in Baby Beach and Capistrano Beach, but Anderson says San Clemente should benefit from that, as sand typically migrates south.

FIND OUT MORE: Stay tuned.

-Rebecca Nordquist

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