Science & Technology



Dunes and native plants to sprout next year on a California's harbor beach

Phil Diehl, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Science & Technology News

A relatively low-budget project has received a $57,000 state grant to restore sand dunes and native plants next year to spots along Oceanside's North Strand and Harbor Beach.

Protected from erosion by a long jetty and replenished by annual harbor dredging, the beach is probably Oceanside's widest, about 500 feet from the harbor parking lot to the water.

"The primary purpose of the Oceanside Coastal Dune Restoration Project is to deploy a nature-based solution to elevate the back beach (away from the waves) and retain sand in areas along the city's coast where sandy resources persist, with the additional benefit of restoring rare, native coastal dune habitat," states a staff report.

Rincon Consultants, a statewide firm with an office in Carlsbad, received a $15,519 contract in March this year to develop preliminary plans. The Oceanside City Council is expected to accept a $56,876 grant Wednesday from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will allow Rincon to complete the project at a total cost of up to $84,501.

The dunes are expected to be built in early fall of 2024, said Jayme Timberlake, Oceanside's coastal zone administrator. The contract includes monitoring and maintenance through September 2028 and could be extended.

"The dunes at Harbor Beach will be ... in areas that are not occupied by beachgoers due to the width of (the beach) and proximity of the ocean," Timberlake said in an email. In all, the dunes will cover about 1 acre.


"Along North Strand, the dunes will be relatively small (0.05 -0.10 acre) and will be situated along the back beach and traversable through designated paths," she said. "Access is not expected to change except the public will have to walk around the small dunes or through designated paths."

Design details and the exact locations are yet to be determined, but the dunes will be created in areas not subject to waves and tides.

Areas being considered are near Robert's Cottages along The Strand, along the pedestrian path from the south jetty parking lot, and in front of the gazebo at the northern end of Harbor Beach.

Winds in the area blow almost constantly eastward from the sea, leaving sand on roads, parking lots, sidewalks and bikeways, where it is removed by the city's public works crews.


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