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:
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: http://www.asrltd.co.nz/.
Steven Aceti, JD
California Coastal Coalition
1133 Second Street
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
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.