Oceanside is losing sand due to Camp Pendleton harbor. A shoreline study will look at how to retain beach sand. Photo by Promise Yee
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Shoreline study aims to find permanent solution to keep sand on Oceanside beaches

OCEANSIDE — The Army Corps of Engineers is set to launch a shoreline study to find a permanent solution to keep sand on Oceanside beaches.

The study will take three years. Kiel Koger, Oceanside public works manager, said it’s a big step in the right direction.

Solutions could range from the addition of jetties or natural reefs, to retrofit work that would allow sand to be pumped through the Camp Pendleton jetty wall.

“They’ll look at a whole host of things,” Koger said. “They’ll look at tidal and wave action. They’ll look at erosion. They’ll look at the way sand is deposited, the way it moves up and down the coast.”

Oceanside has been losing more sand than neighboring North County cities since Camp Pendleton harbor was built in 1942. The harbor blocks the flow of sand to Oceanside beaches. Added jetties exasperate sand loss.

“We have the (Camp Pendleton) harbor, it basically keeps a lot of sand from moving south and getting on our beaches,” Koger said. “Other cities along the coast, Carlsbad, Encinitas, they don’t have a harbor or any kind of main blockage.”

The federal government acknowledged responsibility for Oceanside’s sand loss in 1953.

Past funding has not been enough to keep remediation efforts moving forward, and studies have had to be redone.

A community scoping meeting on March 17, shared news the current shoreline study is funded through completion.

“It truly is the beginning of the study,” Koger said. “A lot of work on their part has to be done to get sand back on beaches.”

Next steps would be to have a permanent sand retention plan approved and secure federal funding. It may take 10 years before work begins.

The result would be wider beaches that protect Oceanside homes and businesses, and provide larger recreation areas.

“It’s going to be a long process, but we’re going to go through it, and hopefully at the end of it we’ll have wider sandier beaches,” Koger said.

Oceanside will continue with annual Army Corps dredging of Oceanside Harbor and harbor sand placement on beaches. Koger said even when a permanent sand retention plan is in place dredging the mouth of the harbor will continue.

The city is also working to gain approvals for an opportunistic sand permit that allows beach quality sand from development sites to be added to its beaches.

Other North County cities are also looking for ways to keep sand on their beaches.

Encinitas and Solana Beach have completed a joint shoreline study, and are seeking funding to implement a 50 year sand replenishment plan to protect city bluffs and beaches.