San Luis Rey River dredging postponed until next year

San Luis Rey River dredging postponed until next year
River dredging that was expected to begin in fall will be put off until January. Planned dredging must stop between March and September for endangered bird nesting. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — It’s official, San Luis Rey River dredging slated for this fall will be postponed until next year.

The Army Corps of Engineers oversees the project to remove sand buildup, and reduce area-flooding risks in the event of heavy rains. The total project will remove sand from three areas of the river.

The first area for sand removal is from Douglas Drive to Foussat Road.

Greg Fuderer, Army Corps senior public affairs specialist, told The Coast News in late September that dredging would be postponed for a needed permit, but would likely proceed this year.

The decision was recently made to wait until next year.

The needed permit is expected to be approved at the end of the month. Once the permit is in hand project bids will begin, and dredging will start in January 2017.

Work will need to pause from March to September for the nesting season of local endangered birds.

In an earlier interview Fuderer said operations would move forward as long as a good amount of work could be completed before March.

The project aims to remove 230,000 cubic yards of sediment from the river to increase its flow capacity to 710,200 cubic feet of water per second.

Splitting dredging into two operations causes some extra concern. A pause in operations opens up the possibility that winter weather could deposit large amounts of sediment, and another survey of the river may be needed.

Once work begins, removed sand will be brought to El Corazon Recycling, sorted for beach-quality sand, and then trucked to city beaches to further sand replenishment efforts.

Possible beach sites for sand are Oceanside Boulevard to Buccaneer Beach, Seagaze Drive to Pine Street, or Tyson Street to Wisconsin Street. Fuderer said all sand would probably go to one beach for maximum benefit.

Project notification continues to be updated to alert residents who use the San Luis Rey River Trail. A section of the trail will be closed where work is occurring, once operations begin.

The job calls for trucks to haul sand 10 hours a day, for six months. Fuderer said this equates to a truckload of sand leaving the river site every five minutes.

With the added pause for bird nesting, work will take 12 months.

Two additional operations will remove built-up sediment further downstream at a future date.

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