Posted on May 8, 2023
Col. Julie Balten, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District commander, joined U.S. Rep. Mike Levin and mayors with the cities of Encinitas and Solana Beach May 4 to celebrate the signing of a partnership agreement to protect both cities’ shorelines.
The representatives, which also included Tony Kranz, mayor of Encinitas, and Lesa Heebner, mayor of Solana Beach, signed a ceremonial Project Partnership Agreement for the San Diego County (Encinitas and Solana Beach) Shoreline Protection Project during a press conference at the Fletcher Cove Community Center. The official Project Partnership Agreement was signed by the Corps and both cities in April.
The event celebrated the collaboration between local, state and federal partners on getting the project underway, which includes constructing a 50-foot-wide protective berm along 7,800 feet of shoreline in Encinitas, with renourishment cycles every five years. For Solana Beach, the Corps plans to construct a 150-foot-wide protective berm along 7,200 feet of shoreline, with renourishment cycles every 10 years.
“We really appreciate our commitment and collaboration with the cities, Encinitas and Solana Beach, and the hard work of all of our teams really making this come to fruition,” Balten said. “This project is about protecting the people, protecting infrastructure and just creating amazing beaches for people to come and recreate on.”
Initial construction is expected to begin this fall and includes placing about 340,000 cubic yards of sand at Encinitas and 700,000 cubic yards of sand at Solana Beach, with construction estimated to last four to six months.
“We’re very excited to be at this stage of the Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage-Reduction project. It’s been in the works for just over 20 years,” Kranz said. “Over the last two years, we have all noticed more coastal erosion along our shoreline … For someone who grew up in Encinitas with the sandy beaches we had, while there were occasional winters where a lot of the sand left, it did return. Looking at our beaches and shoreline today, we do have to wonder. This project is in the nick of time, and I appreciate all that’s gone in to bringing it here.”
The Corps received more than $30 million for the initial construction of both projects in fiscal year 2022 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The initial construction cost is about $50 million with a 65/35 cost share between both cities.
“The Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project has been decades in the making,” Levin said. “It is the result of efforts of local, state and federal partners over a long period of time, and specifically, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is a huge piece of legislation we passed in Congress last year. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was instrumental in making this a reality, at long last, and I am so proud to have secured $30.5 million in the law for this project.”
In addition to the initial construction this fall, the project will include 13 beach renourishments over a 50-year period at about $417 million, with a 50/50 federal-sponsor cost share.
“It’s really wonderful to be here today celebrating this significant milestone,” Heebner said. “We really appreciate your continuous dedication to this project, which is so important to our recreation, to our beautiful beaches, to public safety, to preserving the infrastructure that is important to all of our daily lives and really improving the quality of life for everyone who comes to visit our beaches. Signing this partnership agreement signifies the many years of dedication to this effort that will result in replenishment of our most vital recreational and environmental resource – our beach.”