Byline: Taylor Hill
OCEANSIDE — The Army Corps of Engineers’ annual dredging of Oceanside Harbor was a bit delayed this year due to permitting issues, but the project was back on track by mid-May, removing 243,000 cubic yards of sediment built up at the harbor’s entrance.
“We usually try to get the project timed to start dredging in April — but this year, it was delayed a little bit, and we ran into some of the vacation crowd,” said Oceanside Harbor director Frank Quan.
This year, the dredging project focused on a large sandbar that had been formed at the harbor entrance, when large waves from an early winter storm piled up sand. Throughout the winter, local boaters had to deal with rougher-than-usual waters as they traversed the entrance, due to the waves breaking on the sandbar.
Surveys from the Corps of Engineers indicated that the sandbar extended roughly one-third of the way across the harbor entrance, at a depth of around 10 feet. Last October, the Coast Guard issued a warning to boaters to be on alert when approaching the harbor entrance due to the sandbar’s potential effects.
Now, “The big sandbar is gone, and the depth is back to 22 feet,” Quan said.
After removing the sediment, dredging contractor Manson Construction barged the sand to nearby beaches north of Oceanside Pier, replenishing large swaths of sandy beaches depleted by pounding waves.
This year’s project cost $2.53 million, split between the Corps of Engineers and the Navy. Quan said this year’s total sediment removed was about average, compared to previous years.
In addition to the dredged material from the harbor entrance, Oceanside’s beaches should be receiving more sand from the San Diego Association of Government’s (SANDAG) $22.5 million beach replenishment project planned this month.
The 2012 project is the first large-scale beach replenishment effort in San Diego County since the 2001 Regional Beach Sand Project. SANDAG’s second RBSP will place 1.4 million cubic yards of beach quality sand on regional beaches from Imperial Beach to Oceanside.
The project was expected to begin Aug. 1, but it has been delayed, with a tentative Aug. 20 start date.
Beaches identified for replenishment include Imperial Beach in mid-August, North Carlsbad Beach in mid-September, Cardiff State Beach in late September, Solana Beach in early October, Batiquitos in mid-October, South Carlsbad in mid-October, Moonlight Beach in late October and Oceanside in late October.