I received this e-mail in response to an inquiry I made to the California Department of Fish and Game.
Thank you for your concern for our marine resources. Your e-mail has been forwarded to me since I am the marine biologist who is involved with beach replenishment projects in the area including the Corps project you discussed.
The Department of Fish and Game recognizes that beach erosion is a valid concern and that replenishment efforts may be beneficial to certain marine organisms, such as shorebirds and sand dwelling invertebrates. However, as you noted, replenishment activities can have negative impacts on other marine organisms and habitats. One of our main concerns with beach replenishment projects is the movement of sand and the persistent burial of reef habitat which supports various kelps and surfgrass, and the resultant adverse impacts on the sensitive and/or recreationally and commercially important invertebrates and fish that utilize those habitats during various life stages (e.g. lobster, urchins, crabs, abalone, fishes). A well designed beach replenishment project avoids beach fill in areas with sensitive marine resources.
A good example of a well planned replenishment project was the San Diego Association of Government’s Regional Beach Sand Replenishment Project (RBSP) back in ~2000. The RBSP designed a project that minimized impacts to sensitive resources. It avoided direct sand placement at areas with sensitive offshore resources and even reduced its initial proposed volume by one-third. The RBSP used analytical and numerical modeling to predict the movement of sand from receiver sites and the potential impacts to sensitive resources. In some cases, receiver site footprints were eliminated and/or modified in length and location to avoid impacts to these resources.
The Encinitas and Solana Beach Feasibility Study Shoreline Protection Project proposes large volumes of sand within areas adjacent to sensitive marine resources. In October 2005, we responded to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (DEIS/R) for the project. We expressed our concern that the project has the potential to significantly impact marine resources. We questioned the volumes of sand planned for beach fill in areas with sensitive marine resources and the lack of a comprehensive monitoring, mitigation, and restoration program. We did not believe the project fully evaluated the potential impacts upon marine resources and their habitats.
Please contact me if you have any additional questions.
Marilyn J. Fluharty
CA Dept. Fish and Game, Marine Region
4949 Viewridge Avenue
San Diego, CA 92123
858-467-4231 fax 858-467-4299
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