ENCINITAS — A fresh infusion of sand along one of the region’s best-known beaches has notched that beach a prestigious honor.
The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association selected Cardiff State Beach as one of the nation’s best restored beaches in 2018, the only to be recognized on the West Coast.
Surfers, beachgoers and local dignitaries gathered at the beach July 17 to celebrate the honor as well as the completion of the dredging project that infused the beach with nearly 300,000 cubic yards of sand on the shores earlier this year.
“Going to the beach is a way of life for our residents,” said Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who was one of the elected officials who attended Tuesday’s ceremony. “The additional beach sand is a huge improvement to their quality of life. Our community values the efforts to preserve our beaches and native habitats for future generations.”
The beach replenishment was one of the environmental projects associated with a large suite of public works projects in Coastal North County known as the North Coast Corridor program.
Build NCC, which started in 2016, is a $6 billion, 30-year program that includes the creation of carpool lanes along Interstate 5 between Solana Beach and State Route 78 in Oceanside, the double-tracking of the rail line in Encinitas and the construction of a new segment of the Coastal Rail Trail.
Beach replenishment was part of $118 million effort to restore San Elijo Lagoon that is also part of the Build NCC program.
In February 2018, construction crews pumped the sand — which was the equivalent of about 80 million gallons — from an “overdredge pit” of the San Elijo Lagoon east of the railroad track, and spread the sand at Cardiff State Beach and Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach.
The dredging pit was refilled with natural lagoon sediment.
“We are meeting our goals to improve beach conditions by using locally sourced sand to protect Coast Highway 101, to increase the recreational opportunities at the beach and improve the sandy beach habitat,” said Doug Gibson, executive director and principal scientist for San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, which oversaw the dredging efforts. “The beach is now wider and consists of beach-quality material.