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Oceanside proposes rock groins for sand retention, mayor against it

Posted at 8:37 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 13:08:27-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — The City of Oceanside has a multi-million dollar plan to try to protect its beaches for years to come.

“We want to make sure that whatever solution we move forward with is science-based,” Jonathan Borrego, the Deputy City Manager, said.

Currently, Oceanside replenishes its beaches by dredging the opening of the city's harbor, but Borrego said they need a better method.

“Over the course of time that process has become more challenging and the amount of beach erosion has become more significant," he said.

Part of the city's solution is sand retention devices called rock groins, also referred to as "groynes," which are lines of boulders designed to trap sand as it flows longshore.

City Council approved spending up to $1 million dollars on plans and permits for the project.

Mayor Esther Sanchez was the only one who voted against it.

"I think it's a waste of very, valuable taxpayer money to put a million dollars into this," Mayor Sanchez said.

That's because Sanchez believes the sand retention devices will, in turn, prevent sand from flowing to cities south of Oceanside.

Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall said he doesn't know enough about groins to comment on the possible impacts but believes solving the problem is a collaborative effort.

“Sand retention is much larger than anyone city," Mayor Hall said. “I don’t think groins is the right answer."

Borrego agrees with Hall but said there are ways to design the groins without harming other cities, like the ones along Newport Beach.

“Laguna Beach which is immediately south of that [Newport Beach], they don't have sand starved beaches," Borrego said.

However, Sanchez said Newport Beach is not a good example of using rock groins for sand retention.

"That was in response to a situation with subsidence," Sanchez said. "It has nothing to do with the erosion of the beach. I had to do with erosion inland."

Along with the groins, the project would include a device that would pump sand beneath the harbor.

The estimated cost is around $50 million dollars.

Sanchez said she would rather the funds be used on more sand replenishing projects throughout the year.

“Why not skip the hard structures, go straight into replenishment and maintain a more natural beach," Sanchez said. "That’s what tourists want... a more natural beach."

Borrego said the plan is a pilot study. The rock groins will be designed to be able to be removed if there are any negative impacts.

The city will present the proposal to SANDAG's Shoreline Preservation Working Group.

The plan also will need to be approved by the California Coastal Commission.

Oceanside will present the plan to SANDAG and the Coastal Commission.

Some opponents said the money spent on planning is a waste because the Coastal Commission usually denies the use of groins.