Project To Improve County Sand Under Way

$28.5M Project To Replenish Beaches With New Sand

Large bulldozers will be a common sight on San Diego County beaches over the next several months as a massive project to move millions of tons of sand from the ocean floor to county beaches begins.

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The huge bulldozers are smoothing out the first load of sand delivered to the beach from a special dredging ship just offshore. The sand is light brown, but in this case, experts said brown is better.

"The really sort of fine sand, white sand you see on San Diego beaches washes away really easily; the kind of sand that's really good sand is the sand you see off south La Jolla off Windansea; that's a lot thicker," said Serge Dedina of the conservation group Wildcoast.

Dedina told 10News the last time a project like this was done was in 2000. His group has been able to track the movement of the sand along the coast of the county, and unlike the familiar variety, this kind stays around.

"This is really deep, dark, thick grain sand. It will be good in the environment and good for the marine environment," Dedina said.

The dredging ship is gathering the sand off the coast of Mission Beach, which is where Dedina said there is plenty of it on the ocean floor.

When information on the project was released late last month, some with the Surfrider Foundation told 10News the new sand would slow down the waves and many weren't thrilled with the project.

However, lifelong Imperial Beach surfer Anthony Milahoy disagrees, and said, "With the sandbars and the tide out there and everything, I think it will really help."

The $28.5 million project will move nearly 1.4 million cubic yards of sand onto county beaches by the end of the year. Experts said the hope is that with the quality of the new sand, another massive project like this won't be necessary for at least another decade.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is paying for the operation.

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