ENCINITAS The California Coastal Commission cleared the way Thursday for a massive 50-year sand replenishment project that would widen beaches and reduce the erosion of coastal bluffs in Encinitas and Solana Beach.
If funding is approved by Congress, the first phase of the plan would begin in 2015, when Solana Beach would add 700,000 cubic yards of sand on a 7,200-foot-long section of shoreline, roughly from Tide Park to Via De La Valley.
That same year, 340,000 cubic yards of sand would be distributed on a 7,800-foot-long section of shoreline in Encinitas from the 700 block of Neptune Avenue to West H Street.
Sand would be replenished every five to 10 years, officials said.
The project was developed by the two cities in cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers, which would dredge the sand from offshore sites and dump it on the two beaches.
An earlier plan that called for more sand to be dumped on the beach was rejected by the Coastal Commission this summer saying the amount of sand should be reduced. The cities scaled back the project by about 280,000 cubic yards of sand in Solana Beach and by 300,000 cubic yards in Encinitas.
Solana Beach Mayor Mike Nichols said the project would help reduce the need for seawalls to protect the bluffs from erosion and increase size of the beach for the public.
Between the two cities, were talking about a 35-acre increase in public beach, which is amazing when you think about the fact that right now we dont have much beach at all, Nichols said.
However, some environmentalist organizations, including the Surfrider Foundation, said the project was too large and the sand would bury local reefs.
Surfrider does not want to see surfing resources being traded for towel space, said Julia Chunn-Heer, a campaign coordinator with Surfrider.
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Solana Beach, Encinitas beaches to get more sand