Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sand, Beaches, Kelp, Leucadia Summer 2008

This photo was run by the North County Times in their recent article about sand levels (see link below). This photo was shot during our recent 6 ft and 7 ft high tides. This photo gives the impression to the casual reader that there is no beach. However my photo below tells the rest of the story,

Photo taken from Beacon's Beach bluff Saturday July 12th, 2008 at medium tide. Note the sandy beach and offshore kelp beds.

All North San Diego County surfers need to read this,

North County Times sand tax story: REGION: Study finds lowest beach sand since 2001

From the article:

Steve Aceti, executive director of the Encinitas-based California Coastal Coalition, said his morning runs on the beach in Encinitas tell him all he needs to know about the area's sand situation.

"Now there's cobble (stone) in the summer where there shouldn't be cobble," Aceti said. "Over the years I got spoiled. I got used to running from Moonlight Beach or Stone Steps down to Swami's (beach) without any problems. Now, even if it's not high tide, you can get cut off. It's terrible conditions out there."

Aceti has long lobbied for more sand on local beaches, and is a proponent of Encinitas's "sand tax" initiative, which has been placed on the November ballot after failing to pass in the June election.

He said funding is available from the California Department of Boating and Waterways to pay for another sand replenishment effort in 2010.

That replenishment is expected to cost $28 million, but would probably include several offshore artificial reefs designed to keep sand from being washed away on some of the most sand-starved beaches in Solana Beach, Encinitas and parts of Carlsbad.

"The thing is, we've got to do this every three to five years in order to keep up a good level of sand," Aceti said.


Why this article is disturbing to me,

A. Our beaches are NOT back to cobble. We have great sand levels right now. Enough sand for the beachbreaks, but not so much that the reefs are covered (too much sand on the reefs has been a big problem since the 2001 sand replenishment project)

B. California sales tax is already a whopping 7.75% and they want to increase it.

C. When Aceti spoke about artificial reefs, I got the impression that he was talking about building barrier reefs. We already have a lot of natural reefs; Seaside, Cardiff to Swamis, north Leucadia, the Carlsbad campgrounds. Was he talking about building reefs outside our natural reefs? Is was he talking about building barrier reefs outside our beachbreaks? I decided to e-mail him for some clarification, here is his response:

Hi JP,

The artificial reefs (which, as of now, would probably be placed in Solana Beach (Fletcher Cove), Encinitas and Carlsbad. At a SANDAG Shoreline Preservation Workgroup meeting last year, an oceanographer from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, gave a PowerPoint presentation to explain his theory that beaches in Oceanside and Carlsbad are protected by a "shadowing effect" from Catalina Island.

The artificial reefs would be designed to retain sand and create a surf break. There is currently a pilot project in Ventura County at a surf site known as "Oil Peers" that is being designed and constructed by a New Zealand firm and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the project manager and funder under a USACE program known as the "Section 227 Program." "Section 227" refers to a section of the Congress' "Water Resources Development Act" (usually referred to as "WRDA"), through which all state/federal beach restoration projects and other coastal, watershed, port and harbor projects are funded.

I just sent an email message to the USACE's project manager to update me on the status of the Oil Piers project and I'll let you know what I hear. I also asked the project manager to include in her message a short description of the project so I can pass that along to you also.

The firm that is designing and building the reef at Oil Peers is ASR, Ltd - see:


Steven Aceti, JD
Executive Director
California Coastal Coalition
1133 Second Street
Suite G
Encinitas, CA 92024

(760) 612-3564 cell
(760) 944-3564 office
(760) 944-7852 fax

Building a quality surfing reef off Moonlight Beach sounds intriguing, but I'm not on the bandwagon yet. Currently the Moonlight Beach and D-St area is one of our most popular beachbreaks for surfing. As is, you can fit 100 surfers up and down the beach surfing all the different sandbar peaks. A typical reef wave can't comfortably hold more than 20 surfers. The concern is that an artificial reef could result in a negative impact of our most popular beachbreak. The devil is in the details on this one.

2008 city council candidate Joe Sheffo is also asking for clarification on the artificial reef proposal:

Sheffo Calls on Sand Replenishment Proponents to Clarify Position on Artificial Reefs

North County Times article suggests artificial reefs would be part of sand replenishment project

ENCINITAS – Fearing that a proposal to raise taxes to fund sand replenishment could result in the construction of artificial reefs that will damage local surfing, Joe Sheffo, candidate for Encinitas City Council, is calling on supporters of the tax to clarify whether the money raised from “Prop G II” will be used to build such reefs.

This comes after the North County Times ran a story about sand loss on North County Beaches (”Study finds lowest beach sand since 2001,” July 8) in which Steve Aceti, a major supporter of the sand tax, seems to suggest that local sand replenishment efforts would probably include several offshore artificial reefs.

Artificial reefs have the potential to change surfing conditions and are opposed by many in the surfing community.

“Proponents of the sand tax have argued that sand replenishment is needed in order to boost the local economy. I can think of nothing that would damage the local economy — and our strong local surf culture — more than to irreparably degrade our world-class surfing,” said Sheffo. “The proponents of Prop G II owe local residents, especially surfers, a full explanation of their intentions for this money. If putting local surf destinations at risk is part of the plan, it’s just one more reason to oppose this tax.”

Proposition G was a ballot initiative on the June 2008 ballot that would have placed a two-percent tax on local businesses in order to fund sand replenishment. Despite its defeat, a council majority – consisting of Councilman Jim Bonds, Dan Dalager, and Jerome Stocks – voted to put the measure (Prop G II) on the November ballot.

There is concern from the Department of Fish and Game that a large sand replenishment program could negatively impact reef and rock habitat for fish and lobster. E-mail I received from the 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
Environmental Scientist
CA Dept. Fish and Game, Marine Region
4949 Viewridge Avenue
San Diego, CA 92123
858-467-4231 fax 858-467-4299

Editorial on sand in the Sunday July 13th North County Times: EDITORIAL: Sands shift for funding beach effort

*Blogger's note--I am not 100% against sand replenishment projects, however when I read propaganda comments about how there that is no sand, you can't jog on the beach, it's all cobblestones, I get suspicious. The 2001 sand project dumped far too much sand on our beaches, it destroyed the quality of our local surf spots for 6 months and buried and destroyed our kelp beds which took 5 years to recover.

More photos of our current local sand levels to follow on this blog, stay tuned.


  1. Steve Aceti is a sand mercanary, his job is to perpetuate lies and anti-environmental rhetoric in order to justify taxes and goverment subsidies to protecttheinvestments of bluff top property owners.

    Steve Aceti serves no one but himself.

  2. I'm not a surfer. I'm a walker. I walk on wet sand not cobbles. At low tide I can walk from Grandview to Pipes. If it's high tide there are two points that I can't get around without getting wet. The one by Swami's and one just north of Moonlight. Most times when I walk I like getting wet. It's the beach.

    I also like tide pools. What I have noticed is that the tide pools at Swami's don't have the variety of tide pool creatures that they had 15 years ago. They use to be full of hermit crabs, tide pool fish, sea urchins and an occasional octopus. Now I search for hermit crabs.

  3. Oops, I forgot, there's a third spot where you can get wet at high tide. . It's just north of Beacons.

  4. Roadside Park BumJuly 13, 2008 11:30 AM

    The city has no bidness(sp) building surf reefs while it has so many more important problems that need attention.


  5. Steve Aceti serves his masters.

  6. lobster is tastyJuly 13, 2008 2:06 PM

    It would telling to check the numbers on what years had the highest and lowest lobster yields and compare that data to the sand levels that year.

  7. Why is Jerome Stocks such a whiner? Him and Steve Aceti can't stop whining about the sand.

  8. I know what ya mean JP. That pic in the North County Times could easily mislead most of the folks who never go to the beach.

    To me it's like the long workshops we attended for N. 101's future. The main concern of the vast majority was to PRESERVE THE TREE CANOPY. Now we are being told was the most popular option for the future StreetScape here is: "#1" the option that destroys the most trees we have. Go figure.

  9. Hey Fred-

    I am not one to beleive that the streetscape team is lying about the results received from the public.

    Thats quite an acquisation. It makes me think you may be losing it.

    I love trees and I support No. 1

  10. Sand, Sand more Sand. The more sand the merrier. Bring it in from Arizona. I want a Miami Beach type Beach. Tax, Tax, Tax to get it. Every surfer and beach goer should be charged more so we can get more sand. Perhaps we sell tickets to use the beach and water. Why should the rest of us support those beach goers. They should be supporting more sand by paying as they go.

  11. I agree. The fact is the natural pre-dam level sand is down from Human cause. Humans have the ability to replace the naturaly lost sand. Humans should replace it so other creatures don't die.

  12. Sand is not infrastructure, we don't need sand. Nature will provide the sand,man must provide the infrastructure.

  13. We need sand. We need the right sand and the right plan.

  14. Hey 9:35pm

    I didn't say anyone in the StreetScape team was lying. In fact I respect all of them. So far.

    Fact: Plan #1 removes most of the median trees we now enjoy. If you love trees, why are you for Plan #1?

    The result of the Oak Crest workshop was shown at the last workshop at City Hall. The overwhelming response amoung the 200 people that attended the OC workshop was PRESERVE THE CANOPY.
    Plan #1 takes more trees away than Plan #2 and especailly Plan #3. Looks to me like Plan #1 flys in the face of what the people voted for at Oak Crest.

    The latest number for City Hall is that 40 votes were for plan 40 and Plans two and three got 7 votes each. If I'm the only one who sees this discrepancy, maybe I am losing it.
    Or at least losing confidence in our last workshop conclusion. But we'll all lose the canopy quick with Plan #1 prefered. And it will take 30 years to regain it IF they don't plant more of their prefered skinny trees like they did in front of the Post Office. If those are the kind of trees selected there will never be a canopy over the highway again.

    I sat through 2 very good slide shows that Peltz put on. Several of the slides showed how 4 lanes of two way traffic can be lowered to 2 lanes with roundabouts, and thereby reduce speed AND actually increase the amount of traffic with better infrastructure efficiency. It sounded a looked great, especially with real examples from where they did that in other cities. WHY then did all three plans at the last meeting RETAIN two lanes southbound? It works in cities with businesses on both sides of the street but not in Leucadia with half that?

    Long before Peltz came on the scene I'd heard they were going to tear down the median trees to move the fast lane over so they could keep two lanes south. I tried to find the source of that idea but nobody would fess up. Then it was mildly soft pedaled as "just an option" to calm me down. Now it's in first gear.

    Another thing that sounded like propaganda at the last workshop was the repeated claim that "Most of the trees in the median are at the end of their life cycle anyway." That is false. And it sounds like a way to cushion the blow when they take our median trees down.

    It's no secret we bend over backwards for commuters from the north. Just look at Encinitas' plan to widen La Costa Ave. to 4 lanes from 101 to I-5 to accomodate Ponto's planned sprawl. (Yes it's only 2 lanes right now, not 4 as an earlier poster claimed.)
    Somehow I think that preference has slipped into OUR StreetScape
    plans unawares. Not pointing any fingers. Just lookin at the big picture.

    In conclusion, I think someone with an agenda got to Peltz after the OC workshop to keep those two lanes south.

  15. Opps, you're right, I am losing my proof reading skills. Here's a corrections.

    The latest number from City Hall is that 40 votes were for plan #1 and Plans two and three got 7 votes each. If I'm the only one who sees this discrepancy, maybe I am losing it.

  16. I agree with Fred. The team never explained why 2 southbound would not work. They just said it wouldn't from a traffic standpoint. I don't buy it. Two lanes are working in other areas with higher traffic counts. Its working fine in Bird rock. That project is done and moves more traffic than we experience on HW101. Plus with $5 gas, rush hour cut through traffic is down. Hasn't everyone noticed how nice I5 is flowing these days right in the heat of summer when its normally jammed packed.

    Fred is right. One lane southbound would work just fine. Let them explain why it wouldn't work in detail.

  17. Don't change the number of lanes. Don't move the center median. Don't cut down the trees. Just landscape it.

  18. Lets bring back the best from the past, return our road to one lane in each direction like it used to be.

    Keep it simple want to keep it unsafe, wants to keep speeding cut through traffic, wants to keep peopling dieing, wants no bike lanes, wants no parking, wants to keep businesses failing, wants an ugly old highway with a ugly old railroad next to it.

    Keep it simple wants to keep it ghetto, fast and unsafe for bikes and pedestrians.

    Keep it simple is simply the type of person who fears change even if it betters the quality of life and character of the community. They even fear returning a roadway to its former glory before it was converted into a freeway. Their sense of history is only as long as they can remember in their short little life.

    Lets bring back some good things about the past, bring back to one lane in each diretion.

    I say lets return to the road to a siimpler time. Return it to one lane in each direction.

  19. keep it simpleJuly 15, 2008 9:04 AM

    Twisting my words to say I want to keep it unsafe is a cowardly lie. A typical move by anonymous.

  20. Good grief! Every 10 years or so we get a new slickmeister,(ie: Ron Edde), who comes to town under the guise of "Helping the community" when in fact, they have a hidden agenda that is designed to really help themselves to the city's money. During the Prop C joke, Aceti posted on this blog, "There sure are a lot of people named 'anonymous' in this town." Yes, there sure are, and we're sick of your stupid ideas, especially this sand-on-the-beach fetish of yours. Do something useful, willya?

  21. Howard the CowardJuly 15, 2008 8:54 PM

    Keeping it the same is keeping it unsafe.

  22. Steve Aceti is up to his old tricks again. He is simply lying when he says he can't jog on the beach. I walk the beaches from Cardiff to Leucadia on a weekly basis. There is plenty of sand.

    We have very moderate tides right now. Of course, with winter's more extreme tides, it's impossible to walk the beach at high tide. It always has been this way, and it always will be this way. No amount of sand will stop the surf from reaching the bluff base, or when wind driven, even slopping over Highway 101 in Cardiff.

    Is Aceti blind? Didn't he see the kelp disappear and take years to recover after the last sand replenishment? The man is not only a liar, but is totally insensitive to our local environment. Or is he simply protecting the interests of his bluff-top clients? The Self Realization Fellowship being the main one.

  23. Please dont disrepect the SRF because of Steve Aceti's lying actions.

    SRF is a wonderful organization accepting of all religions for greater peace.

    The SRF better get wise and punt the lying Aceti. Liars are easy to spot and the SRF should realise that Aceti will hurt their mission to bring more peace to this earth.

    My favorite Aceti lie was,

    "until I saw prop G on the ballot, I was not even aware of it"

    Haaaa Haaaa Haaaaaaaaaa.....

    Aceti is a pure liar!

    The biggest lying New York Attorney I have ever met. Man he stinks.


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