Homeowners, and visitors alike are tired of the sandless shoreline along Oceanside’s coast.
“It’s really disheartening. We brought our kids down here from a young age, taught them to surf enjoyed so many good family times down here,” said Kara Walker and her husband, Bob Walker.
They are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this Fourth of July and were reminiscing about all the holidays and parties they used to celebrate on the once sandy beach by their Oceanside home.
“We used to be able to come down here, put our towels on the sand, kids would dig in the sand and play,” said Bob. “I could walk to the sand’s edge, paddle out and surf.”
They raised their two children, to be surfers, and they are about to be grandparents and want their grandchild to also be able to learn to surf and play in the sand in Oceanside.
The Walkers have teamed up with other homeowners and Oceanside neighbors to create a new group called SOS Oceanside. It stands for “Save Oceanside Sand.”
Using research from a local professor, and the Oceanside City Public Works engineer, Kiel Koger, they presented City Council this week with a plan to bring back the Oceanside sandy beaches and save what little sand is left. It involves a $29 million cost, though.
Koger said the plan calls for a jetty-like system, called a groin system. Koger said it involves five groins to be laid on packed sand during low tide. The groins, he said, would eventually keep the sand from flowing south and start to build up Oceanside’s beaches again in combination with the city’s annual sand dredging. That dredging is currently a temporary fix.
Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss said the city might have an interest in the SOS Oceanside plan, along with Koger’s plan, but first the Army Corp of Engineers would have to study the sand flow and then regulatory committees would have to approve a project before it was even presented to City Council to approve. The mayor said the Army Corp of Engineers already started studying sand flow a few years ago. They were looking at the water break, which restricts sand around Camp Pendleton construction but the study ran out of money. The mayor said he would like to see the study be completed in the next budget cycle.
“We are hopeful we can work with the Coastal Commission to get approval to build these groins out into the water only a short distance,” said SOS co-organizer, Dirk Ackema.
Meantime, the SOS Oceanside group said they worry Oceanside’s tourism and property value could soon feel the impact of the missing sand.
The Chamber of Commerce even touts Oceanside’s “… 3.5 miles of clean, soft, white sandy beaches, but the Walkers wonder where are those beaches are, because they do not line all 3.5 miles of Oceanside.
“Our visitors say, ‘Well, where is the beach? I know there is no beach we got to go to Carlsbad,’” explained Kara Walker. “This seems like a fix that is doable and reasonable.”
“I’d sure like to see the kids have access to the same thing that we did thirty years ago,” Bob added.