More coastal cities oppose Oceanside’s groin project

There's no sand to be seen looking north from Wisconsin Avenue along The Strand on Oct. 8, 2020, in Oceanside.
There’s no sand to be seen looking north from Wisconsin Avenue along The Strand on Oct. 8, 2020, in Oceanside. The city is planning a retention project that has cities to the south worried it will steal their sand.
(Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Solana Beach, Del Mar approve resolutions against the sand-retention measure


Solana Beach and Del Mar have joined Carlsbad in opposing Oceanside’s plan to install rock groins as beach sand-retention devices.

Coastal erosion has eaten more than two-thirds of Oceanside’s beaches down to bare rocks, and for years the city has been looking for ways to restore the sand. Last year, tired of waiting for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finish a stalled shoreline study, the city decided to proceed on its own.

The Oceanside City Council approved a preliminary plan to install five 600-foot-long groins, 1,000 feet apart, extending into the ocean at right angles from the rock revetments that border the ocean. If successful, more could be added. The groins have been shown to stop the southward migration of sand, but while they build the beaches nearby, they restrict the flow to points farther south.

As a result, the Carlsbad City Council voted in January to oppose the Oceanside project and said Oceanside was “amateurish” to approve a project on its own that’s likely to bring negative results to its neighbors. Solana Beach and Del Mar followed suit last week.

“This is something that would be counter-productive,” said Del Mar Councilmember Terry Gaasterland. “It would retain sand, but at a cost.”

She and others said coastal erosion requires a regional solution, and it’s not something any single city can solve alone.

The regional San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, has a shoreline planning group that should be leading the effort, said Del Mar Councilmember Dave Druker.

“That is where the solution should be emanating from ... not ... from each of the various cities,” Druker said. “At this point, Oceanside is kind of thumbing their nose at SANDAG, and saying, ‘we’re going to solve this ourselves.’”

The Del Mar City Council voted 4-1, with Councilmember Dan Quirk opposed, to pass the resolution. Quirk said he didn’t have enough information to make a decision.

The Solana Beach City Council approved a similar resolution last week.

The Encinitas City Council reportedly has considered taking a stance, but so far has not placed the issue on an agenda.

Since approving the plan, Oceanside officials and residents have said they intend to work with other cities on regional shoreline solutions.

“Our study was simply a way to move forward,” Councilmember Ryan Keim said in a call to last week’s Del Mar meeting.

“We don’t always do a good job of communicating what we’re doing,” he said. “We have not reached the design stage yet. It’s a regional problem and needs a regional solution. We have to partner to solve this issue.”