Oceanside’s beaches will be wider this year and there should be fewer big black pipes snaking across the sand at the height of the tourist season, Army Corps of Engineers officials said.
The annual dredging operation carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers is going more smoothly this summer than last year, when a dredging company worked through October and dredged less than 200,000 cubic yards of sand.
The dredging is an annual operation to clear sand built up in the harbor mouth. The beach replenishment is a welcome byproduct.
So far this year, more than 200,000 cubic yards have already been pumped from the mouth of the harbor, piped down the beach and spread out around the pier by three bulldozers. Greg Fuderer of the Army Corps of Engineers said Manson Construction should meet its deadline to be done before summer officially starts.
“This year, with the larger equipment, a more experienced crew and an earlier start date, we feel we’ll be able to meet the contract requirements by Memorial Day,” Fuderer said.
However, Fuderer said, with the pipe laid and all the equipment working well, the city is considering the option of continuing the dredging for a few weeks to take advantage of extra sand.
The cost of the annual dredging — $3.7 million to dredge 280,000 cubic yards from the mouth of the harbor — is born by the Army Corps and the Navy. But last year the city of Oceanside budgeted $600,000 beyond the basic contract for 80,000 cubic yards of extra sand. That money is still on the table, said Oceanside City Manager Michelle Skaggs Lawrence.
Camp Pendleton also uses the harbor mouth and has money available for another 70,000 cubic yards to be dredged.
“Since we have the contractor here on site,“ Fuderer said, “since we have the funding available, we’re in discussion with the city and permitting agencies to investigate the possibility of continuing to dredge past Memorial Day weekend for the benefit of the navigation and to put some more material on the beach.”
Skaggs Lawrence was not sure how far south the sand replenishment project would go this year, but Fuderer said the project should be done about two weeks after Memorial Day.
A wider beach is good for more than aesthetic reasons. Last winter, waves often crashed right over the road at the south end of the Strand at high tide, in part due to beach erosion.