Solana Beach Shoreline Project (Sand Replenishment)

The City is proactively working to protect critical public infrastructure, recreational opportunities, existing structures and sandy beach habitat by building coastal resilience through the 50-year beach sand project. 

The natural sand (littoral) processes have been interrupted by development, flood control structures, dams, transportation infrastructure such as roads and the railroad and other hard infrastructure along the shoreline.  

Existing erosion is exacerbated by storm surge and strong waves at high tide. In Solana Beach, the impacts of coastal erosion have resulted in the narrowing of our beaches and wave encroachment directly against the bluffs, which threaten public and private infrastructure and beach safety. The primary goal of the beach sand project is to restore sand supplies to the shoreline to promote long term coastal resiliency in the City and region.   

Pre-construction monitoring for the Project occurred in Fall 2022 through Fall 2023, and included establishing pre-construction baseline data related to:  

  • Beach profiles, sand volumes, and coastal lagoons
  • Surfing conditions and wave characteristics
  • Physical conditions of the sand in the offshore borrow site 
  • Water quality
  • Biological resources 

These data collection efforts are the baseline that will be utilized by the USACE to track any physical changes to the environment following project implementation.  

 

Project Updates 

Project Update 2-10-2024

Good news! Significant progress has been made on the sand replenishment project, and the project is moving along exceptionally well. In light of this progress, the contractors are preparing for a temporary closure of Fletcher Cove Beach starting tomorrow, Sunday, February 11th, through Tuesday, February 13th.

This temporary closure is necessary to ensure the safety of the public as the operations move south of Fletcher Cove. Shore operations with heavy equipment will be focused on keeping the dredge productive by setting up for material to pump south while relocating the shore pipeline and auxiliary equipment from the north side of the beach to the south side.

The closure will be brief, with plans to reopen the beaches north of Fletcher Cove to the public on Wednesday, February 14th, assuming there is no significant and unforeseen downtime for dredge repairs.

Please note that Fletcher Cove Park and the overlook will remain open to the public during this time, as well as the City’s other public beach accesses, including Tide Park beach access stairway, Del Mar Shores beach access stairway, and the Seascape Sur public access stairway.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate the continued support, cooperation, and patience of the community as we work towards enhancing our beloved beachfront.

Project Update 2-8-2024

Time for a sand replenishment project update! Even with the recent storms, the project is going well and remains on schedule. Heavy equipment will be delivered this Monday, February 12th, which will require the temporary closure of the Fletcher Cove parking lot for public parking in the morning until 1:00pm.

In addition, the work on the north side of Fletcher Cove is expected to be completed this weekend and operations will switch over to south of Fletcher Cove. This will result in the beaches south of Fletcher Cove being closed as early as Monday morning. Once the switch is made, the beaches north of Fletcher Cove will be opened to the public. The work on the south side will take approximately 4-6 weeks. Although the vehicular ramp at Fletcher Cove will stay closed, the pedestrian access on the ramp and the beaches north of the Cove will be open to the public.

Please note that the construction schedule is subject to change, and we appreciate the public's patience during this crucial project.

Project Update 1-25-2024

Great news about the sand replenishment project! Even with Monday's storm, the project is going well and on schedule. Here's a quick update: Additional heavy equipment will be delivered this Friday, January 26th, prompting the closure of the parking lot at Fletcher Cove for public parking from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM. This additional equipment will support ongoing work north of Fletcher Cove Beach. Beach access to the north of Fletcher Cove will remain closed for the next 3 weeks, considering safety concerns related to construction equipment and activity. Although the vehicular ramp at Fletcher Cove will stay closed, pedestrian access along the south side walkway and the beach south of the Cove will reopen to the public on Saturday. Please note that the construction schedule is subject to change, and we appreciate the public's patience during this crucial project.

Project Update 1-18-2024

The Coastal Storm Damage Reduction and Beach Replenishment Project construction kicked off last Tuesday, January 16th. This federal project, spanning 50 years, aims to restore the city's beaches and protect our coastal bluffs through sand replenishment. The Fletcher Cove parking lot, park overlook, and beach access ramp will be temporarily closed for public safety reasons during equipment delivery. The beach and water will be closed daily during active sand placement operations from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, lasting approximately 60 days. During the initial construction phase, the public is advised to use the three other public coastal access points - Tide Park, Del Mar Shores, and Seascape Sur. The public may notice increased lighting from the dredge and support vessels throughout the night which are required to meet safety and environmental regulations. The community's support and patience are appreciated during this essential project.

Project Update 1-16-2024

Equipment mobilization for the Solana Beach and Encinitas Coastal Storm Damage Reduction & Beach Replenishment Project will begin in Solana Beach this Tuesday, January 16th. To facilitate mobilization of the equipment by the contractor, beginning early this Tuesday morning, the City will implement a temporary, short-term public safety related closure of the Fletcher Cove parking lot, the Fletcher Cove Park overlook and the public beach access ramp signalizing the official start of this long-awaited federal, 50-year beach sand replenishment project. The closures of the parking lot, beach overlook and access ramp are necessary to protect public safety while the contractor delivers the equipment needed to restore the City’s beaches.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this activity might cause and will attempt to minimize these closures to the extent feasible. Please note that the City’s three other public coastal access points remain open including the Tide Park beach access stairway, Del Mar Shores beach access stairway and the Seascape Sur public access stairway. Those wishing to observe the initial operations should do so from the Fletcher Cove Community Center beach overlook area.

To ensure public safety, the beach and water will be temporarily closed in the vicinity of active sand placement operations which will begin on Wednesday January 17th and will occur 7 days a week, from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM for approximately 60 days.

During active construction, the public may experience increased heavy equipment and vehicles on the beach, temporary closures of sections of the beach during active sand placement, fencing to protect public safety, water turbidity, and extra shorebird activity as shorebirds love to forage in the dredged material.

The City greatly appreciates the continued support, cooperation and patience of the community. 

 

Project Details

Project Overview
  • Nearly 25-acres of new public beach area will be created by this Project
  • Project is a result of a successful partnership between the City + State + Federal Government
  • The Project will create a new, 150’- wide beach that is approximately 7,200 feet long
  • Volume of sand added to the beach is 700,000 cubic yards
  • Sand will be placed between Tide Park stairs and the southern City limits
  • Sand will be sourced from an area offshore of the mouth of the San Dieguito River
  • Sand renourishment cycle is approximately every 10 years & 290,000 cubic yards of sand
  • Final renourishment event would occur in 2074 (e.g., in 50 years)
  • 2.1 Million cubic yards will be placed in Solana Beach over the 50-year period
Project Description

The City of Solana Beach (City) in collaboration with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and California State Parks (State Parks) are restoring the entire public beach in the City. The Project is intended to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Reduce coastal storm damages to critical public infrastructure, existing structures and accessways along the shoreline and the bluff top, prior to the need for emergency action
  • Improve public safety in the City by reducing the threat of life-threatening bluff failures caused by wave action against the beach and bluff base
  • Reduce coastal erosion and shoreline narrowing to improve recreational opportunities for beach users

Beginning in early December 2023, the City will begin the process of adding 700,000 cubic yards of sand to the beach beginning just south of the Tide Park public beach stairway to the southern City limits. The sand for the beach is being recovered from an offshore sand deposit offshore of the San Dieguito River mouth and will be brought via a dredge that will connect to a pipeline onshore.  Sand will  be pumped as a slurry mix of seawater and sand and will be spread out on the shore to create a 150 wide new beach area.  The project will be repeated approximately every 10 years over the next 50 years for a total sand volume of 2.1 million cubic yards and the creation of almost 25 acres of new beach area for use by the public.

What can I expect during construction?

During construction, the community may experience the following:

  • Construction staging beginning as early as early December
  • Construction staging at Seaside Parking Lot (Cardiff) and at Fletcher Cove
  • Construction hours from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week for approximately 60 days
  • Increased heavy equipment and vehicles on the beach
  • Temporary closures of small sections of the beach where there are active sand placement activities underway will be fenced off to the public to protect public safety
  • Water turbidity (suspended sediments), noise from back up beepers and extra bird activity (shorebirds love to forage in the dredged sandy material)
  • Post construction wrap up will take a few weeks to remove all equipment and materials

Pipeline Footprint 

 

Pipeline Landing (1st phase of Mobilization) Example Photos:

 

Construction Phase Example Photos

Staging Areas

Seaside Parking Lot


 

Fletcher Cove Staging Area

Project Funding
  • Funding for this Project has come from the City, State of California and the Federal Government
  • This Project is cost shared 65% federal and 35% non-federal
  • Total construction phase funding is $49,584,000

Project Schedule
  • USACE awarded contract to Manson Construction in Summer 2023
  • Project Mobilization will begin December 2023
  • Construction anticipated to begin in December 2023 or January 2024
  • Construction will last approximately 60 days Dredging would be performed 24 hours a day / 7 days a week
  • Shore equipment would work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week Post-construction demobilization = February 2024
Documents


More information, including a link to the Integrated Report and Final EIS/EIR, may be found on the following website:
http://www.spl.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/ProjectsStudies/SolanaEncinitasShorelineStudy.aspx

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this Project?

This beach nourishment project is designed 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. The Project is authorized for a period of 50 years, with planned renourishments every 10 years following initial construction in late 2023 / early 2024.

What are the technical details of the project? 

This Project will construct a 150-foot-wide beach along 7,200 feet of beach covering the entire City of Solana Beach shoreline.  The project will create nearly 25 acres of new public beach area.  Sand is being obtained from an offshore borrow site located offshore of the mouth of the San Dieguito River. The material will be pumped via submerged hydraulic pipeline and dewatered on the beach before being shaped into a new beach by heavy equipment on the beach.

Why is this Project needed?

Over many decades, upland land development for purposes of water supply storage, flood control and other infrastructure benefits has resulted in the rivers and creeks being dammed such that the normal supplies of sand that have historically reached the beach have been largely cut off and are prevented from reaching the coast. Beach nourishment reintroduces natural sediment into the natural sediment-cycle, reestablishing wide protective beaches for residents and visitors, as well enhancing sandy beach habitat for birds, fish, and other coastal wildlife.

When did this Project start?

In 2000, Solana Beach requested assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE ) to protect critical public infrastructure, existing structures, public accessways and other facilities located on the shoreline. After two decades of planning, environmental review,  permitting,  and ongoing coordination between federal, state, and local agencies, Congress authorized and funded the Project for construction.

Who is involved in this project?

The project was developed jointly between the City of Solana Beach, Encinitas and the USACE with assistance from the Corps’ Coastal Planning Center for Expertise and other cooperating federal and state agencies such as California State Parks. Since its inception, the Project has received ongoing support from Members of Congress and State representatives.

Did the USACE Evaluate Other Methods for Promoting Coastal Resiliency, and Preventing Erosion Other Rather than through Beach Nourishment?

The USACE planning regulations require all feasible options to be considered, including the no-action alternative. Alternatives were compared against the no-action alternative to determine effectiveness, cost, and benefits. The USACE evaluated a range of reasonable alternatives such as seawalls, living shorelines, and beach nourishment. Nourishment was determined to be the most economical and effective means of coastal protection for the City.

Will the New Sand Move Around Over Time?

Beach nourishment projects are designed and engineered to mimic natural beaches, allowing sand to shift continuously upcoast and downcoast, offshore in winter and onshore in summer. Beaches naturally respond to changing waves, wave energy, swells, and storms. Like all sandy beaches, sand accretes and erodes in response to natural forces. Engineers use models to determine how often the beach will require a fresh load of sand. In Solana Beach, natural trends indicate the beach will likely need to be renourished every 10 years.

What is the total cost of the project and how is it funded?

The total cost of construction for this project is $16,000,000, and is funded 65% by the federal government, and 35% by the City of Solana Beach  and Encinitas with the assistance of California State Parks, supported by grant funding from the California Public Beach Restoration Fund.

Will this Project impact the environment?

This project has been subject to both the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and compliance requirements and has received approvals from all required federal, state, and regional regulatory agencies. The Project is not expected to affect environmental resources and a comprehensive post-construction monitoring plan is in place.