ENCINITAS — The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association named the shoreline of Encinitas as the winner of its 2009 Best Restored Beach award.
However, in spite of the award, some residents have taken exception to the replacement material, claiming it is more like dirt than sand, with a low silica content, threatens local flora and fauna and changes the surf breaks because of the amount of material deposited.
The city of Encinitas’ Pacific Station Project placed 37,000-cubic-yards of material on the beach along the shoreline within the city just south of Ponto State Beach. This beach is the northernmost section of the city and, according to the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, experiences the most beach sand erosion in the city. As the sand migrates south, ASBPA maintains it will protect the bluffs, restore valuable recreational space and provide more habitat for shore birds and marine life, including endangered species, such as the Western Snowy Plover and the California Least Tern. The developer of the Pacific Station Project excavated a two-story garage in downtown Encinitas and the city provided a “receiver site” or beach for the material to be deposited on.
“When we find creative solutions to restore sand supply to the region’s beaches, we can accomplish a lot,” said San Diego County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, chairwoman of the California Coastal Coalition and the San Diego Association of Governments Shoreline Preservation Workgroup. “This project is a prime example. We can restore our coast, create habitat for endangered species, and boost tourism and the region’s economy all at the same time.”
For the last 40 years, beach restoration has been the preferred method of shore protection in coastal communities on the East, West and Gulf coasts. Beach restoration is the process of placing beach-quality sand on eroding beaches to reverse or offset the effects of erosion.
To enter the competition, coastal communities nominated their restoration projects for consideration, and an independent panel of coastal managers and scientists selected the winners. Judging was based on three criteria: the economic and ecological benefits the beach brings to its community; the short- and long-term success of the restoration project; and the challenges each community overcame during the course of the project.