OCEANSIDE — After a wait for needed permits and last year’s bird nesting season, excess sediment removal from the San Luis Rey River is about to begin.
“The anticipated timing for sediment removal, taking environmental restrictions into account, is from mid-September to mid-March,” Greg Fuderer, senior public affairs specialist for Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, said.
The project, which was first planned to begin in September 2016, must be completed by early spring due to the mentioned environmental restrictions that protect birds migrating from Mexico.
To complete the job within the allowable six-month window, dump trucks will haul removed river sand 10 hours a day at the rate of a truckload of sand leaving the site every five minutes.
“Work will require sediment removal, mitigation, levee inspections and any incidental levee repairs,” Fuderer said.
Sediment removal allows a larger capacity of water flow within the river. Efforts will protect the area from a 100-year flood event, which can be caused by heavy rains.
“The ultimate goal is for the river to convey its authorized 71,200 cubic feet per second,” Fuderer said.
The project provides the additional benefit of dredged sand being added to local coastal beaches to replenish sand loss.
The overall project will remove sand from three areas of the river. The next two phases will be further downstream.
The initial phase will remove about 230,000 cubic yards of material. It’s anticipated 150,000 cubic yards of that will be beach compatible sand.
Dredged material will be brought to El Corazon Recycling, sorted for beach-quality sand, then trucked to city beaches for sand replenishment efforts.
Compatible sand will be placed on beaches from Seagaze Drive to Pine Street. If there is additional sand the next locations to benefit are beaches from Oceanside Boulevard to Buccaneer Beach.
Environmental restrictions also limit the window of time that sand can be put on beaches.
“Restrictions for grunion runs require placement to be complete by mid-March,” Fuderer said.
To ready the work area from Foussat Road to Douglas Drive the city is working with the drive-in theater property owner to allow a staging site for the project, and setting a detour for the bike trail along the river. Detour signs with a map of an alternative bike route will be posted.