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Long-awaited sand replenishment project begins in Solana Beach

A before-and-after rendering posted outside of the entrance to Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach. Jan. 20, 2024.

Posted on January 23, 2024

A long-awaited project to restore the beaches along Solana Beach and Encinitas’ coastline has officially started.

It is called the Solana Beach and Encinitas Coastal Storm Damage and Reduction & Beach Replenishment project. It began on Wednesday with the closure of the Fletcher Cove parking lot, the nearby overlook — both of which have reopened — and the public beach access ramp.

“The overall project in Solana Beach is expected to be done in 45 to 60 days,” Lesa Heebner, the mayor of Solana Beach, told NBC 7. “It’s worth the wait. You’re going to have a very nice, wide, sandy beach come this spring.”

This project began in 2000 when Solana Beach asked for help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to improve the shoreline. The permitting, research and environmental review process took decades.

“What we have now in Solana Beach, our beaches are lined with very tall bluffs, most of which are, unfortunately, sloughing off and sometimes even failing. So, this sand will help protect the bluffs from the wave action,” Heebner said.

It is a joint-effort between the city of Solana Beach, Encinitas and USACE. It aims to “widen the beach to reduce beach erosion and restore the natural protective buffer between critical infrastructure and the ocean, while simultaneously increasing recreational area along the shoreline for beachgoers,” according to the project’s webpage.

Heebner explained the beach is going to be nearly doubled in size, going from roughly 75-ft. wide to 150-ft. Sand is being dredged from “just outside of the wave line of the San Diego River” then brought back to Solana Beach by boat, transported through large pipes and sprayed onto shore and smoothed out by bulldozers.

“This is a 50-year project,” Heebner said. “So, we have been authorized over a period of 50 years. The city of Solana Beach will have renourishment every ten years, if we find the money.”

The overall cost of the project is slated to be $16 million. According to the city of Solana Beach’s website, it is 65% funded by the federal government and 35% by the city of Solana Beach and Encinitas with help from California State Parks.

According to Heebner, construction will happen seven days each week, rain or shine, until completion in Solana Beach, then the crews will move north to Encinitas.

The city is warning that during that time, there may be more:

  • Heavy equipment and vehicles on the beach
  • Temporary closures of section of the beach during active sand replacement
  • Fencing to protect public safety
  • Extra shorebird activity

For more information on the project, click here.


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