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City contracts for shoreline management program

DEL MAR — As coastal cities grapple with the reality of sea-level rise, Del Mar is making strides to ensure sand replenishment is an adaptation option for its local beaches.

At a June 17 City Council meeting, council members approved a three-year contract with engineering consultant Moffatt & Nichol to create the city’s shoreline management program. The move is a step toward implementing the city’s adaptation plan, a plan adopted by the council in October 2018 that outlines strategies for coping with sea-level rise.

The city’s primary aim when it comes to the agreement is establishing a Sand Compatibility Opportunistic Use Program (SCOUP), a way of allowing the city to be permit-ready when beach-quality sand becomes available for replenishment.

The total cost of establishing the SCOUP program is estimated at approximately $337,000, with the environmental, state and federal permits costing about $270,000 to obtain.

City Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland called the program the “linchpin” of the city’s Adaptation Plan. Gaasterland chaired the city’s sea-level rise stakeholder-technical advisory committee (STAC), which was assembled to review sea-level adaptation options such as SCOUP.

“It’s an opportunistic use permit to put more sand on the beach,” Gaasterland said. “Sand on the beaches is going to protect sea walls, it’s going to protect our bluffs, it’s going to protect Del Mar’s economy.”

The city is also hoping to develop a “living levee” concept as a way to protect homes near the San Dieguito River. Outlined in the Adaptation Plan, a levee built along the river might reduce flood risk to neighboring homes.

The consultant will be helping the city identify financing strategies for future beach nourishment projects, and applying to grants such as the State Department of Boating and Waterways’ Beach Restoration Grant in the hopes of getting such projects off the ground in the future.