The Coast News Group
Buccaneer Beach
Practically no sand is left at Buccaneer Beach in South Oceanside. City Council recently approved a plan to move sand from its El Corazon property, a former sand mine, to replenish its beaches. Photo by Samantha Nelson

Oceanside to replenish city beaches with sand from El Corazon

OCEANSIDE — The city of Oceanside is looking to move sand from the El Corazon Park site to its beaches, several of which are in growing need of replenishment for the summer months.

Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim and Councilmember Peter Weiss made a request for staff to begin working with Sudberry Properties, developer of El Corazon, for the excavation and removal of sand from the property at Council’s June 16 meeting.

“I think our beaches are probably in the worst shape I’ve ever seen right now,” Keim said.

Keim noted Oceanside Boulevard and Buccaneer beaches “have almost nothing left,” making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get on and off the beaches there.

Council unanimously approved this request, which includes providing $1 million from the city’s sand beach funds to make the move of sand from El Corazon to city beaches happen.

While the sand itself would come at little cost for the city because it’s already located on city-owned property, the real expense is the excavation and transportation of sand from El Corazon to the beaches.

“This is merely a beginning step to be creative and look at places with sand that we haven’t before,” Keim said.

Public Works Director Kiel Koger said much of the ground at El Corazon, a former sand mining site, has been disturbed recently due to development, however, the southeast corner of the property is believed to have some “virgin ground” still left.

“We could go explore and see the quality of sand there,” Koger said.

To physically put sand from El Corazon on the beaches, the city would also need to work around the time of tides.

“We would have to have periods where we could haul sand to the beach and place it before the high tides come back,” he explained to Council. “It’s going to take a big effort but it’s something we can start looking into.”

Mayor Esther Sanchez, who agreed with the idea to use sand from El Corazon, also suggested looking at other sources of sand as part of this effort, suggesting places like nearby lagoons or the Santa Margarita River.

Save Oceanside Sand members Dirk Ackema, Bob Ashton and Nick Richey suggested that Council should consider creating a “coastal zone administrator” position that they could hire someone for who would specifically monitor and find solutions for Oceanside’s sand problem.

For several decades now, Oceanside beaches have experienced issues with sand retention stemming from the construction of Camp Pendleton Harbor. The jetty at the Marine base’s harbor prevents much sand from being carried south by the waves, which previously provided sand to Oceanside’s wide beaches.

Though Camp Pendleton annually dredges the mouth of Oceanside Harbor and pumps that sand to the city’s beaches, that still doesn’t prevent the sand from slipping away further south.

The Public Works Department has initiated a feasibility study seeking to find a way to protect Oceanside’s beaches from long-term shoreline erosion that is environmentally friendly and has a good chance of being approved through regulatory permitting processes.

The city previously held a workshop on sand retention efforts back in September 2020. Its next workshop is scheduled for June 30 at 6 p.m.