The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a 50-year beach nourishment project for Solana Beach and Encinitas. Sand will be dumped on the beaches every 5 years in Encinitas, and every 13 years in Solana Beach. This would result in significantly wider beaches at the expense of the local reefs. Pillbox, Cherry Hill, Table Tops and Stonesteps will be completely covered in sand and transformed from reef breaks into beach breaks. However, there is no discussion about this impact in the project design and the determination of the fill amounts. This is not an impact we feel is tolerable, our surfing resources must be considered significant! Project proponents also fail to acknowledge that sand is not going to fix the problem of eroding beach bluffs and depletion of the beaches. Even if sand is added, the shoreline still retreats; and sea level rise is only going to complicate things.
The Army Corps of Engineers has discounted the option of a Managed Retreat alternative in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) as “impractical and infeasible”. Managed retreat does not happen overnight and requires leadership and planning. Just discounting the policy because the cities cannot afford to buy all the property is missing the point. This is a costly Federal project, and more than a cursory hand waving should be used to evaluate Managed Retreat. Furthermore, project proponents should take a close look at the aftermath of hurricane Sandy for lessons learned.
Check out the action alert and send a message to the cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers – don’t let them destroy these valuable environment and surfing resources without more evaluation of potential alternatives!