San Diego County’s Shrinking Beaches

by on September 12, 2023 · 2 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Phil Diehl/ San Diego U-T / Sept. 10, 2023

San Diego County’s beaches need costly, sustained replenishment efforts to remain the wide, sandy tourist attractions they have been for so long, a new regional study shows.

Shorelines in south Oceanside, south Carlsbad, Leucadia and Coronado are shrinking fast, according to the 2023 “State of the Coast” report released Thursday by the San Diego Association of Governments.

Only beaches bolstered by sand dredged from nearby lagoons, harbors and offshore deposits are maintaining their width or growing, says the report, presented Thursday at a meeting of SANDAG’s Shoreline Preservation Working Group.

Most California beaches have never been the wide, sandy expanses seen in East Coast states such as Florida, some experts say. Most of the West Coast shore is steep, rocky and pounded by powerful waves, and the beach culture popularized by movies and advertising is largely a myth.

“Beaches are the essence of California and provide its most important aesthetic and recreational asset,” oceanographer Reinhard Flick of Scripps Institution of Oceanography wrote in 1993 in his paper called “The Myth and Reality of Southern California Beaches.”

“Yet the widest sand beaches in Southern California have been created and are maintained by human activity,” said Flick, who today is an advisory member of the SANDAG working group. …

[Regarding Ocean Beach, the article did not mention OB’s beaches except to state:]

Other beaches monitored for the report remained relatively stable or had slightly increasing amounts of sand.

For the balance of this article, please go here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron May September 12, 2023 at 11:51 pm

Regarding San Diego County’s Shrinking Beaches, people, of course, are why the beaches are vanishing. Over the past century, the United States Army Corps of Engineers dammed up nearly all our rivers, reconstructed our estuaries and terminated the downstream flow of sand vital to our beaches. They also erected marinas, re-shaped rivers and coastal sand drift using rock jetties, and turning Mission Bay into a playground. Mission Bay is a life desert compared to the vital habitat it once supported. Gone too are those miles of beach I actually saw and played along when a child in Long Beach, before the rock marinas terminated the rolling surf.


Chris September 13, 2023 at 6:55 am

Dana Point.


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