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Orange County’s beaches are washing away. This is what’s being done to stop it

Contractors are moving sediment from the Santa Ana River to replenish sand at Newport Beach

Posted on December 10, 2023

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is spearheading a major effort to save Orange County‘s world-famous beaches from a natural threat: erosion.

The problem of disappearing sand is nothing new but has become more alarming in recent years. In March, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report predicting that rising sea levels could erode 25% to 70% of California’s coastline by 2100, The Orange County Register reported.

The erosion isn’t just a threat to the beauty and recreational uses of the beaches. It also threatens infrastructure including roads, rail lines and homes.

Contractors are using backhoes to dig up sand from the Santa Ana River while barges are dredging sediment from the ocean.

While some of the sediment will be spread out in the immediate area of Newport Beach near the river, managers say the more important work will be done further to the north.

“About 1.2 million cubic yards of sand are being dredged off the coast of the Surfside/Sunset Beach area,” Newport Beach spokesman John Pope told KTLA. “That’s being deposited on a beach up there and over the next few years through natural tidal flow, through wave action, it flows down to replenish the beaches [to the south].”

The project is intended to cover roughly 17 miles of coastline with 1.8 million cubic yards of additional sand which will be replenished every five years, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website. Surfside Beach will be extended to 4,500 feet of shoreline and between 350 and 900 feet in width.

The work is expected to be completed by the end of February 2024.


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