Sand replenishment is becoming a hot topic around these parts. The usual sand suspects are showing up and throwing their political weight around. There must be a lot of money in being a sand baron, otherwise why would anyone push sand replenishment so hard in a year where it's shaping up to be unnecessary?
Sometimes our local beaches get stripped of sand in the winter and the beach is dominated by cobble stones. This is when it's time to consider replenishing the beach with sand from dredging projects.
But 2007 isn't looking like one of those years. We've had a mild winter surf and storm wise. There is still a chance we could get a huge powerful north swell that could gobble up our sand, but right now we have p-lenty of sand. In fact, for most of our good surfing reef breaks, we still have too much sand.
Most importantly, this year our local kelp beds are just now recovering from near devastation. Kelp needs reef and rock to attach too. Kelp grows fast in cold water and the water has been below 60 degrees most of the winter. If you visit the beach regularly you can actually observe the kelp beds expanding in size daily.
Steve Aceti is our local sand lobbyist who many of you will remember as the #1 advocate of the doomed fake clean water tax, Prop C. Aceti championed Prop R back in the day, a tax slapped on our local hotel and motels in the interest of sand replenishment.
Encinitas mayor Jim Bond is a player here and so is our supervisor Pam Slater (read Slater's editorial in the NCT about sand here).
Visit the KPBS website for their story and interview with Aceti click here
KPBS reports "A pilot project six years ago piled sand on several county beaches. Now that sand is gone." This is shoddy reporting, the sand is not gone. Scroll down for photographic proof.
Now, vile NCT columnist Michael D Pattinson is jumping on the sand bandwagon in his newest column titled Thank bureaucrats for sandless beaches. This is an odd title considering that right now our beaches are NOT sandless and all the bureaucrats are pushing for sand. In fact, it was the bureaucrats that gave us the huge sand project of 2001.
The bureaucrats like Aceti, Bond and Slater would have you believe that all the 2001 sand is gone (they convinced the meaty brained Pattinson). But a quick trip to the beach reveals a different reality.
Aceti, Bond, Slater and Pattinson are probably too lazy to actually visit the beach, so I've been taking photos for them.
click photos for large view
Here we are in the Cardiff campgrounds looking north towards Swami's point. As you can see there are indeed cobble stones on the beach. Cobble stones strike fear into the hearts of the bureaucrats. However, the cobbles are scattered and harmless. There is enough sand for people to walk the entire stretch of the Encinitas coast. The few cobbles will be covered up this spring and summer naturally when we start to get south swells.
These photos were taken last Saturday, Feb 17th in the afternoon at low tide. You can see the exposed reefs next to the giant sandbars. This is a natural and a good thing. We want to see those reefs. Tourist like picking through them and checking out the cool animals that live in the tide pools and surfers like surfing over the reefs because reefs make good quality waves. The bureaucrats must remain calm and not rush to bury these reefs under tons of sand in panic.
This is a good view looking south, you can see La Jolla in the distance. Obviously, there is more than plenty of sand to walk on. You can see people walking and people hanging out on their beach towels. There is a ribbon of cobble stones but they are not impedeing anyone's enjoyment of the beach. By the way, it was 77 degrees when I took this photo!
Here is Beacon's Beach an hour after the 6.6 high tide on Sunday morning, Feb 18. Even on this big high tide you can still see the 2001 sand at the base of the bluff is dry.(*notice that the south reef kelp beds have not yet returned).
Another view of Beacon's. There is a small ribbon of cobble stones but even on this 6 ft+ high tide there is plenty of dry 2001 sand to stretch your towel out on.
But what about Solana Beach you ask? I took photos there too.
Solana Beach bluffs at high tide. There is still enough beach for the lifeguard trucks to drive on. The San Diego Union Tribune did a story about sand and Solana Beach recently. They published a photo of waves crashing into the bluffs. The photo was taken on one of the rare 7 ft high tides we get twice a year. Click here for SDUT story. They make it sound like the entire coast of Solana Beach is cobble stones, but there is only one small section of cobbles and it is at the base of some private stairs further south.
Pillbox beach in Solana Beach, lots of sand here.
*If Solana Beach wants sand they can have it. Let's give them sand that would otherwise by dumped on Encinitas beaches.
I supported the 2001 replenishment project. But, barring any major storm or powerful late season north swell we don't need to "replenish" this year. Maybe next year or the year after that. But right now with current sand levels and the fragile status of the kelp beds we don't need a big sand project.
Here is something I've wondered about, if the beaches do become once again dominated by cobble stones, would it be cheaper to remove the cobbles off the beach via bulldozers and then let sand naturally fill in?
The NCT published comments from bluff top property owners recently, read them here
Who stands to personally make money from a 2007 sand replenishment project?
Why do the sand bureaucrats seem to believe that all the 2001 sand is gone?
Is anyone looking into other ways to stabilize our bluffs besides sand and seawalls? What about vegetation on the bluffs like deep rooted tomato plants?