Wait on needed permit delays river sand removal project, bike trail remains open

Wait on needed permit delays river sand removal project, bike trail remains open
The San Luis Rey River Trail will stay open until sand removal work begins. The mitigation project is delayed and not expected to begin until November or later. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Sand removal from the San Luis Rey River to prevent severe flooding has been delayed until a needed discharge permit is obtained. The project, which is being overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers, cannot go out to bid until all permits are in hand.

The work start date set for this month may be delayed until November or later.

“We’re waiting on a Regional Water Quality Control Board document report,” Greg Fuderer, Army Corps senior public affairs specialist, said. “The end of the month we’re hoping to get certification.”

Army Corps has requested an expedited review to move the project along as quickly as possible.

Mother Nature has also put restrictions on when work can be done. Operations are OK’d through March 15. Past that date work must pause for six months during the nesting season of an endangered bird species.

Once a start date is set Army Corps can weigh how much sand can be removed prior to the March deadline.

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.

Fuderer said he expects to get started before March and finish a good amount of work.

“I’m confident we will get awarded, and will mobilize and make progress on the project,” Fuderer said.

If the job does not get done by Mother Nature’s deadline work can resume in September 2017.

A pause in operations opens up the possibility that winter weather could deposit large amounts of sediment, and another survey may be needed. Fuderer said with an unknown start date and uncertain winter weather conditions, it’s too early to speculate.

Once work begins, removed river sand will be brought to Moodys El Corazon Recycling and sorted for beach-quality sand, which will be transported and placed on city beaches.

Possible beach sites for sand are Oceanside Boulevard to Buccaneer Beach, or Seagaze Drive to Pine Street, or Tyson Street to Wisconsin Street. There is no final word on where sand will go. It is likely all sourced sand will go to the same location.

The San Luis Rey River Trail will remain open until a project start date is set.

A couple of weeks prior to the project start, detour signs will be posted at Foussat Road and Douglas Drive to mark the closed-off section of trail.

The delay in trail closure may benefit two bike events planned for fall.

The Bike MS Bay to Bay Tour, which rolls through Oceanside Oct. 22, and Bike the Coast Taste the Coast ride on Nov. 5, have been notified of the pending trail detour. The original date for trail closure was Oct. 10.

Kiel Koger, Oceanside public works division manager, said detour signs are made and will be posted when a new start date is confirmed. The signs will have a map of an alternative route.

To reduce the risk of flooding, two more river sand removal projects will follow at a future date. Subsequent work will take place further downstream.


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