Beaches in the city of Oceanside have been losing sand for decades. Photos from the 1930’s show wooden homes west of the bluff, on the beach, setback 100’s of feet from the high tide line. Fast-forward to 2010 and homes that sit west of the bluff from Tyson Street South to Wisconsin Ave can enjoy white water right up to their doorsteps.

The “problem” of losing sand became a problem for homeowners when a storm event in the late 1970’s caused part of the Strand to fail near Wisconsin Ave. Rip rap was introduced to protect the area from further failings of manmade structures. Rip rap has a life span of about 30 years and a trip to this area will show just what happens when rip rap has past it’s prime.

The stacked rip rap is either settling or being washed away and is noticeably different than it was 6 months previous. When large waves coincide with high tides, the rip rap settles even further. A walk along the Strand tomorrow morning at high tide will show you what I’m talking about. The street and the homes are in the high tide line. This happens every winter, but this winter, the rip rap seems to have given up.

I called the Oceanside Beach and Harbor manager, Frank Quan to learn about Oceanside’s long term plan. They have none. Other than more beach fills and a large SANDAG beach replenishment project in the next year and a half, they have no plan about what to do about the encroaching shoreline. The Army Corps of Engineers will dredge the harbor mouth next April, like they do every year, and that sand will be placed on the beach like it was last year. The City is hoping it will last until SANDAG has funding to add more sand.

How long until the City of Oceanside realizes that something has to be done about houses and roads built on the dynamic beach? How long will they continue to issue building permits west of the bluff? I think its time that the City of Oceanside addresses the obvious issue and starts talking about planned retreat or surrender.