Port to Begin ‘Replenishing’ Sand at Kellogg Beach in Point Loma June 8 – Where’s the Sand Coming From?

by on June 4, 2020 · 7 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach, San Diego

UPDATE: Tracy Spahr – Public & Media Relations Principal, Marketing & Communications for the Port, responded: “The Port reviewed a variety of sands and selected a sand of a quality, color and texture that closely matches the current sand at Kellogg Beach. The sand will be coming from East County Sand, LLC based in Lakeside, CA. The Port also received a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a water quality certification from the Regional Water Quality Control Board for this project.

For some background, the mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program is to protect the nation’s aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions. The Corps evaluates permit applications for essentially all construction activities that occur in the nation’s waters, including wetlands. Corps permits are necessary for any work, including construction and dredging, in the nation’s navigable water and their tributary waters.

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We just received a press statement from the Port of San Diego announcing the Port will begin to replenish the sand at Kellogg Beach beginning on or near June 8. They expect the project to be completed by July.

For the public’s safety, “the beach will be closed during construction hours”, mainly between the hours of 8 am and 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, and maybe some weekends as well. Of course, there’s other restrictions.

Okay. Well, the main question residents and environmentalists should be asking is “where is the sand coming from?” If the sand is being dredged up off the San Diego Bay floor, there’s a problem. After decades of massive amounts of pollutants and toxins in the water, the sand on the bottom is highly suspect in its cleanliness.

People who have lived here know the challenges over the years to get the City, the Port and the Navy to clean up the bay and its waters. In fact, in the late 1980s, it was quite the issue. There has been some progress. But it’s unlikely the sand is clean enough to use on a public beach.

Hopefully, the sand has been dredged from less-toxic waters.

There’s also been a campaign to “save Kellogg Beach” from over-development these past few years.

Here’s the Port’s full statement:

Port of San Diego to Replenish Sand at Kellogg Beach

As part of the Port of San Diego’s continued efforts to keep San Diego Bay a treasured destination, the Port will be replenishing sand at Kellogg Beach. The project is anticipated to begin on or shortly after Monday, June 8, and most of the work is anticipated to be completed by July.

Located along the southwestern shoreline of the Shelter Island Yacht Basin in the Point Loma area of northern San Diego Bay, approximately 2,000 cubic yards of natural sand will be added to the beach. Replenishing the sand will enhance the experience for visitors and help protect the coastline from high levels of natural erosion by maintaining or improving the current slope of the beach to the water.

For public safety, the beach will be closed during construction hours, primarily between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and some weekend hours may occur as needed. The beach will be open during non-construction hours, per posted beach hours. In compliance with the County of San Diego’s public health order related to COVID-19, and in coordination with other coastal jurisdictions, Port beaches, including Kellogg Beach, are open for limited use only. Kayak and paddleboard launching, swimming, running, walking, sitting, and lying down are allowed. Activities such as volleyball and football are not allowed.

The Port reinvests the revenues from hundreds of businesses on the San Diego Bay waterfront back into local communities and the economy, which includes public infrastructure, public parks, fishing piers, cruise terminals, and more. The Kellogg Beach Sand Replenishment Project is budgeted as part of the Port’s 2019-2020 Major Maintenance Program. De La Fuente Construction, Inc. was awarded the contract for the project at the Board of Port Commissioners meeting in April.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie June 4, 2020 at 2:32 pm

Tracy Spahr – Public & Media Relations Principal, Marketing & Communications for the Port, responded: “The Port reviewed a variety of sands and selected a sand of a quality, color and texture that closely matches the current sand at Kellogg Beach. The sand will be coming from East County Sand, LLC based in Lakeside, CA. The Port also received a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a water quality certification from the Regional Water Quality Control Board for this project.

For some background, the mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program is to protect the nation’s aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions. The Corps evaluates permit applications for essentially all construction activities that occur in the nation’s waters, including wetlands. Corps permits are necessary for any work, including construction and dredging, in the nation’s navigable water and their tributary waters.

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Avatar Geoff Page June 5, 2020 at 9:13 am

This will be unbelievably expensive. This looks fishy to me. San Diego sand is a precious commodity, there is very little left in the county and it is sorely needed for concrete production. It amazes me that they would go to this expense for this tiny beach. I wonder who greased the palms to make this happen? I’ve never heard of a beach replenished in this manner.

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Avatar retired botanist June 5, 2020 at 11:06 am

Being a regulatory specialist, I fully expect the Port has all its T’s crossed and Is dotted with respect to this beach replenishment project. And as Geoff says, it will be VERY expensive.
But it also shows you the sort of inside muscle “some people” have… to wit, just getting the damn beach STAIRS, used by thousands, repaired in OB on the other side of the Peninsula seems to take the City YEARS. But the Port can haul a bunch of sand across the highways to backfill a tiny strip of interior coastline?! Fancy that!
And one doesn’t have to be a geologist to understand the larger pattern of sand cell movement south, which the replenished sand will start doing the minute it hits the shore. Its what sand does. :/

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Avatar Geoff Page June 5, 2020 at 11:29 am

I’m glad you made the point about the sand migration, retired. I didn’t make it because I didn’t want to sound completely negative but that is a major point. All that expensive sand will drift away. Have to wonder what the story is here, it may be worth digging into, no pun intended. Having been in the construction industry here since 1977, I’ve seen all of the sand resources disappear, I was surprised to hear about this one in Lakeside. At one time, the industry tried to import sand from Mexico but that got quashed for some reason. Most of the sand has been coming from Pauma Valley. A resource of sand to convenient should not be just dumped on a beach. Temporarily.

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Avatar Mark June 8, 2020 at 11:29 am

Before writing an article like this, consider doing some actual reporting ahead of time. Maybe contact the Port first. Or have a basic understanding of how Public Works construction projects are done, which is that the sand would have a very exact specification, not just whatever might be dug up from the bottom of the bay. Think about how that would even happen. That would be an entirely separate project to dredge the bay.

So don’t just throw out “hopefully”s without doing any reporting first. Please, have some understanding of what you’re publishing before spinning out misinformation.

Thank you.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie June 8, 2020 at 11:33 am

Mark, first we were contacted by the Port’s PR person. The use of San Diego Bay sand on local beaches has long been an issue – or perhaps you’re a newbie to the area and are not aware of the dreadful and toxic conditions of the bay historically. You’re wrong, dude, for San Diego did consider using the sand at the bottom of the bay for years. Only after public pressure, did they look elsewhere. Read some history of San Diego before you accuse us of “spinning out misinformation.”

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Avatar Geoff Page June 8, 2020 at 1:28 pm

Mark, dredging and replenishing beach sand are usually one project, not two. The replenishment sand usually comes from somewhere nearby so the question posed here was a logical one. I have never heard of beach replenishment using mined sand trucked to a beach, this is highly unusual. Many times, the sand is dredged offshore of the beach it is replenishing. So the Rag posed the question and the answers have developed, that is how the Rag often works and the extra “reporting” comes from folks who may know more. I see no need to be critical of the story because it got the news out for discussion and now everyone knows what is happening. That is a service the OB Rag provides.

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