Surfers tend to get excited when they hear the buzzwords “artificial reef”. They get visions of the local hotspot turning into Pipeline or J-Bay. So far the jury is still out if artificial reefs will make great waves as well as impacts they may have on the shoreline.

However, surfers and beachgoers should exercise extreme caution when dealing with these project. The City of Solana Beach is proposing an artificial reef at Fletcher Cove in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers. I would caution my friends in the surf community on this project and luckily Councilman Mike Nichols has taken a cautious approach to embracing this proposal.

Here is one reason I am worried and I would think Councilman Nichols is as well:

“Secondary objectives that may or may not be addressed in the study included the need to develop a design that is efficient, enhances surfing, and enhances offshore habitat.”

The above quote comes from the report on the project.

The real aim of the project is in the report:

“A stabilization structure, such as a multi-purpose reef could be used to retain sediment, attenuate beach loss, provide storm damage reduction, and maximize benefits of ongoing and future beach nourishment projects. This type of structure could also mitigate for recreational impacts while avoiding potential impacts to adjacent natural habitats.”

There you have it…you might save some sand from going down to Del Mar and then past there to fall into the canyon off Black’s never to be seen again, but what happens to your surf break at Fletcher Cove or the Beach Breaks in Del Mar?

Also, one proposed version of the sandbag reef will have the bags exposed at low tide and visible from the beach.

Information on this project can be found at:

http://www.ci.solana-beach.ca.us/newsmanager/templates/?a=61&z;=1

Send your comments on the Artificial Reef Proposed Design to:

Ms. Leslea Meyerhoff, AICP. Project Manager, City of Solana Beach, 635 South Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA, 92075. Comments can also be sent by facsimile to 858-720-2448 or by email to: LMeyerhoff@cosb.org

If you want guidance on how to deal with this type of project here is a suggested list of criteria:

•If it is determined that a given intervention can have a net retarding effect on sand loss, it should be implemented only if there is no significant adverse impact to the following:
–Surfing conditions
–Sand supply to other beaches in the littoral cell
–Public beach access
–Lagoons and estuaries
–Off-shore marine life
–Water quality
–Coastline aesthetics

See this paper for more information: Dynamics of Beach Sand