Skip to main content

Dig Imperial Beach

“Part Of Our Beach Is Gone” by David Smith

Mar 28, 2016 05:31PM ● By Paul Spear
“Part Of Our Beach Is Gone”

SANDAG's Imperial Beach sand replenishment project of 2012 was undertaken for a good 
purpose: to control beach erosion. It began 10/4/12 and was completed 12/7/12, working 24 hours a ­day. During that time, 450,000 cubic yards of sand were delivered at a cost of $28,000,000. The sand was mined a mile off the coast of Mission Beach, and brought by ship to Imperial Beach. There it was pumped ashore from the ship's hold along with water through a large steel pipe, and deposited on the beach. Starting at Cortez Avenue, the pipe was gradually moved northward, and multiple bulldozers were used to distribute the material. The beach was widened by an average of 200 yards, the process ending at Elder Avenue.

The resultant new shore was extremely steep, creating unusually heavy backwash and shore


break. Plus, the bulk of sand sloped several feet lower near beach properties than near the shore. At times, after breaching the berm during high tides, ocean water pooled in this low area, creating a temporary lagoon, and causing property damage along the south end of Seacoast Drive.

Last week, during moderately high tides and big surf, much of the replenishment sand was washed away. This is especially true between Admiralty and Ebony Avenues, where the sand level has dropped perhaps 8 feet. An indented rocky area has been formed, centered at the foot of IB Blvd. Virtually no beach remains there, only mounds of rounded rocks. It's been like this before, but not for many years. Coming gentler waves and tides will cover the rocks with sand, and this portion will become a usable beach 
 again. But nature has shown that it can't be changed successfully, at least not for long.



Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Dig Imperial Beach's free newsletter to catch every headline