OCEANSIDE — Built-up sand will soon be taken out of the San Luis Rey River by the truckloads to help ensure water stays within the banks of the river, and the threat of a flood is reduced.
The goal is to increase the capacity of the river channel and protect the area from a 100 year flood event. Measures will ensure the San Luis Rey River can contain a flow of 710,200 cubic feet of water per second.
The mitigation project is overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers. Over time it will remove sand from three areas along the river.
The first area for sand removal is from west of Benet Road to east of Foussat Road.
Initial operations call for dump trucks to haul sand 10 hours a day for six months. Greg Fuderer, Army Corps senior public affairs specialist, said this equates to a truckload of sand leaving the river site every five minutes.
“The biggest benefit is it increases the water flow capacity in the river, this helps the river flow at a faster rate and reduces the risk of flood damage if we have enough rain (to cause a flood),” Fuderer said.
Sand removal follows the completion of mowing of nonnative vegetation in the riverbed. Mowing was done in phases to ensure sufficient habitat for wildlife, and completed last year.
An additional benefit of river sand removal is sourced sand for city beaches.
Dump trucks will take sand to Moodys El Corazon Recycling. There beach quality sand will be separated and stored until it is placed on city beaches.
Beaches under consideration for the 230,000 cubic yards of sand that is expected to be extracted from the river are stretches of beach from Seagaze Drive south to Pine Street, and from Oceanside Boulevard to Buccaneer Beach. Fuderer said there has not been a final determination on where extra sand will provide the most benefit.
Due to the impact and longevity of sand removal work the popular San Luis Rey River Trail will be closed from Foussat Road to Douglas Drive. Closure will ensure safety around operations and avoidance of potholes and pavement damage during work.
Fuderer said the city is in the process of printing up trail detour signs, which will be posted before work begins Oct. 10.
In addition to trail closure, Oceanside police will canvas the area, inform homeless individuals residing near the river about the work schedule, and urge them to relocate.
“We want to do it as quickly and safely as possible,” Fuderer said.
Work is expected to be completed by the end of March.
Locations and dates for the next two sand removal events have not been determined, other than they will be downstream from the first site. Fuderer said a webpage for the project will be developed to keep people updated.