SOLANA BEACH — Solana Beach began a project this week at Fletcher Cove as part of larger continuing efforts to maintain their beaches and protect the coastal bluffs.
The Sand Compatibility Opportunistic Use Program, or SCOUP, project is the first of its kind in Solana Beach and began Tuesday. It is expected to be finished prior to Memorial Day weekend next month.
SCOUP is a program prepared by the San Diego Association of Governments via a grant from the California Department of Boating and Waterways to streamline the permitting process for municipalities seeking approval for small beach replenishment projects. Solana Beach was permitted for the maximum of 150,000 cubic yards of material for this year, but this project will only be moving an estimated 25,000 cubic yards of high-quality sand.
“The idea with sand replenishment is, it’s sometimes referred to as a ‘soft’ solution to protecting the coastline, as opposed to a hard protection such as a sea wall or a bluff retention device,” Solana Beach City Manager Greg Wade told The Coast News.
As part of the project, sand will be delivered from the Solana 101 construction site at the corner of Sierra Avenue and Dahlia Drive to Fletcher Cove Beach using at least 10 dump trucks over a series of days and weeks.
The trucks will take the material the short distance from the construction site down South Sierra Avenue, where the trucks will access the beach and deposit the sand during low tide into the nearshore area.
The city is using this project to test whether they will plan more like it in the future. The City Council has given the city manager the ability to end the project at any time should unforeseen problems occur.
This hauling and depositing process will occur daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and beach access during that time will be closed. The park at Fletcher Cove will remain open during this time.
Sand will be placed near the shore during low tide with the idea being that it will then be distributed along the beach during high tide.
The idea, according to the city, is a sandy beach with high-quality sand will act as a buffer between the ocean and the lower bluffs at Fletcher Cove. With higher-quality sand taking the energy of waves hitting the beach it, in theory, will better disperse that energy before reaching the bluffs.
This is just one sand replenishment project currently happening in Solana Beach and it is also relatively small. But similar projects have occurred in the past and with more planned in the future, the idea for the city is taking small steps.
“While 25,000 cubic yards in and of itself may not provide significant benefit, over time those projects add up,” Wade said.
For example, during restoration work at the San Elijo Lagoon, 150,000 cubic yards was transported to beaches in Solana Beach.
“So over time those intermittent projects provide sand into our system that provides for a sandy beach that protects that lower bluff,” Wade said.
There are larger projects in the works as well for the city, including one where they have recently received funding from the federal government to complete their design and planning that would bring at least 700,000 cubic yards of sand to shorelines in the city.
“That will take a couple years but it’s a massive project comparatively,” Wade said.