Sand replenishment EIR available for review

COAST CITIES — A draft environmental impact report for a project that would replace sand on beaches in Solana Beach and Encinitas for 50 years is currently available for public review and comment on the websites and at the city halls of both cities. 

The coastal storm damage reduction project is a joint venture between Solana Beach, Encinitas and the Army Corps of Engineers that would restore more than eight miles of beach beginning at the mouth of Batiquitos Lagoon in Encinitas and stretching south to include the entire 1.7-mile Solana Beach coastline except an area north of Tide Park.

The plan is to use sand from offshore borrow sites to renourish the beaches on a regular cycle for 50 years, currently estimated to be between 2015 until 2065.

The draft EIR evaluates potential options for reducing coastal erosion that results from storm damage.

Alternatives include nourishment only, doing nothing or beach replenishment with engineered notch in-fills.

The latter features a hybrid mix of structural and nonstructural measures to provide protection.

Existing notches and sea caves at the base of the bluffs would be filled to stabilize the lower bluff before adding sand. This alternative would result in narrower beach widths.

Options for Solana Beach range from a 100-foot-wide beach replenished on a 10-year cycle to a 200-foot-wide beach filled on a 13-year cycle.

Encinitas options range from a 50-foot-wide beach on a five-year cycle to a 100-foot-wide beach renourished every 10 years.

A five-year cycle isn’t an option for Solana Beach because a coastal engineer determined, after looking at erosion rates in the two cities, the sand would remain in Solana Beach longer.

To justify federal involvement the project must provide an economic benefit. A wider beach would improve recreational activities and thus attract more visitors to the areas.

The project has been in the works for more than a decade.

The estimated cost is $45 million. In addition to federal funding — approximately $4.7 million since 2000 —the California Department of Boating and Waterways has provided more than $1.1 million since 2001.

The 60-day review period will run through Feb. 26.

In Solana Beach comments can be submitted electronically to WProtzman@cosb.org, by mail to Wendé Protzman, City of Solana Beach, 635 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075 or by fax to (858) 792-6513.

In Encinitas, visit ci.encinitas.ca.us or send comments to City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan Ave., Encinitas, CA 92024.

The document can also be viewed on the Army Corps of Engineers website at spl.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/ProjectsStudies/SolanaEncinitasShorelineStudy.aspx.

Noticed public hearings will be held in both cities after the review and comment period ends.

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