OCEANSIDE — A jury of coastal scientists and community leaders will recommend the “living speed bump” concept to the City Council later this month as the best option to restore and preserve sand on city beaches.
The jury was tasked with choosing between three finalists as part of the Coastal Resilience Design Competition, or RE:BEACH, which began earlier this year as a means of finding an innovative design that both nourishes and retains sand on Oceanside’s beaches.
The city announced on Jan. 4 that jurors had chosen Australian firm International Coastal Management’s “living speed bump” as the competition’s winner.
The finalists — ICM, New York City-based SCAPE Landscape Architecture with ESA and the Dredge Research Collaborative, and Deltares USA and MVRDV of the Netherlands — were tasked with researching the city’s coastline, listening to feedback from residents, and developing their concepts at three workshops throughout the fall.
The firms presented their final concepts at the last workshop on Dec 13. From there, jurors spent the next few weeks deliberating their options.
ICM’s “living speed bump” concept proposes to construct two small headlands meant to stabilize sand on the back beach with an offshore artificial reef to slow down nearshore erosive forces. The design also intends to restore biodiversity in the area by providing new spaces for organisms to settle.
The project is expected to cost around $31.4 million, with an anticipated $500,000 in annual maintenance.
Living speed bumps have successfully aided in restoring sandy beaches along Australia’s Gold Coast, where ICM is based.
“We are absolutely delighted to announce our selection as the chosen team by the RE:BEACH jury,” stated Aaron Salyer, principal engineer and director at ICM. “This opportunity perfectly aligns with our deep passion for impactful projects, and we are confident that Oceanside will emerge as a shining example of coastal resilience in California.”
The jury chose ICM’s design because of how it met the competition’s project goals and design criteria, plus its effectiveness in retaining sand while leveraging existing infrastructure.
“We are proud to have worked with all three finalist teams through the RE:BEACH process,” said Samuel Carter, principal at Resilient Cities Catalyst, a partner in the project. “We see all the proposed solutions as contributing greatly to the conversation about how to build coastal resilience in these uncertain times.”
Based on feedback from both the public and the jury, two key modifications to the concept will be recommended as well: refinement of the top of the headland space to use more environmentally or aesthetically pleasing elements that blend with Oceanside’s character, and the use of rock instead of geotextile bags for construction of the artificial nearshore reef.
City staff and the ICM project team will present the winning concept and its recommended modifications to the Oceanside City Council for final approval at a public workshop on Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m.
In the meantime, opportunities to provide public comment on the designs remain open until Jan. 13 at rebeach.org. All comments received will be included in the design project brought forward to the City Council.
Following the council’s approval, the project team will develop final engineering plans and pursue environmental compliance for its design. The city anticipates the planning and environmental review process to take between one and two years, with construction beginning as early as 2026.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include the cost of the project plus annual maintenance costs.