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Solana Beach-Encinitas Shoreline Study

Purpose:  To investigate alternatives to arrest the coastal storm damage reduction along the shoreline within the cities of Encinitas and Solana Beach that occurs during severe winter wave climate.

Study Area: The Solana Beach-Encinitas shoreline study area is located along the Pacific Ocean in the Cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas, San Diego County, California. Encinitas is approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of Oceanside Harbor, and 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of Point La Jolla. The Encinitas shoreline is about 9.6 kilometers (6 miles) long. It is bounded on the north by Batiquitos Lagoon and on the south by San Elijo Lagoon. The 1,500-meter-long (4,920 feet) southernmost segment of the Encinitas shoreline is a low-lying barrier spit fronting the San Elijo tidal lagoon.

Immediately south of Encinitas is the City of Solana Beach. Solana Beach is bounded by San Elijo Lagoon to the north and on the south by the City of Del Mar. It is approximately 27 kilometers (17 miles) south of Oceanside Harbor, and 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of Point La Jolla. Solana Beach’s shoreline is about 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) long. Nearly all of the shoreline in the study area except Cardiff (8 miles total) consists of narrow sand and cobble beaches fronting nearshore bluffs.

Problem Summary: In the last 10 to 15 years, The Solana Beach-Encinitas shoreline has experienced accelerated erosion of the beaches and coastal bluffs.  Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, Southern California has experienced a series of unusual weather patterns when compared to the rest of this century. Fluvial delivery has also been significantly reduced due to river damming and inland sand mining activities. The cumulative effects of these impacts have produced erosion of the once-wide, sandy beaches.  As a result of the severe winter storms in the 1982-1983 El Nino year and the extreme storm of 1988, most of the thin sand lens on the Encinitas beaches was lost even prior to the 1997-1998 El Nino season. Within Solana Beach, the chronically denuded beach condition was also worsened after the 1997-1998 season. It is apparent that beach sands were stripped away and lost from the littoral system during that season.  With the loss of the wide sandy beaches, storm waves attack the toe of the bluff and eventually form a notch.

As the notch depth increases, it eventually triggers an upper bluff failure.  The timing of these failures are difficult to predict and often occur several months after the storms have passed.  As a result, damages occur to bluff top structures when bluffs collapse.

This has prompted property owners atop the bluffs to armor or otherwise try to protect their property before structural damage occurs.  Approximately half of the shoreline in the study area has been modified with some type of bluff protection structure, at significant cost. These seawalls provide piecemeal protection at varying levels.  Our study focuses on a more comprehensive solution over the critical study area.

The loss of beach has also severely degraded recreational value in all reaches, and the loss of beach combined with the undercutting bluff erosion creates dangerous overhangs which constitute a serious public safety issue. There have been fatalities in recent years caused by sudden bluff collapse in the study area and adjacent beaches.

The critical areas were delineated in two segments.  Segment 1 (Reaches 3, 4, and 5) exists within the City of Encinitas and extends from the 700 Block of Neptune Avenue to Swami’s Reef and is approximately 3.2 kilometers (km) [2.0 miles (mi)] in length; Segment 2 exists within the City of Solana Beach and stretches from Table Tops Reefs to the southern limit of Solana Beach (Reaches 8 and 9) and is approximately 2.3 km (1.4 mi) in length.

Study Participants:  The Non-Federal Sponsors for this project are the City of Encinitas and the City of Solana Beach.

Draft Integrated Feasibility Study & Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for the Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project, San Diego County, California is available for public review and comment.  The Draft documents is separated in four Volumes:

Volume I:  Main Integrated Report.
Volume II:  Appendices A through D
Volume III:  Appendices E through H
Volume IV:  Appendices I through M

Public Hearings are scheduled at the following times and locations:

City of Encinitas, Council Chambers   City of Solana Beach, Council Chambers
505 S. Vulcan Avenue   635 S. Highway 101
Encinitas, California  92024-3633   Solana Beach, California  92075
Wednesday, 6 February 2013   Thursday, 7 February 2013
6 PM to 8 PM    6 PM to 8 PM

Comments must be received by February 26, 2013.  Please address your comments to:

Josephine R. Axt, Ph.D.
Chief, Planning Division
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Los Angeles District
P.O. Box 532711
ATTN:  Mr. Larry Smith (CESPL-PD-RN)
Los Angeles, California  90053-2325

Points of Contact:

Lead Planner
Heather Schlosser
Phone: (213) 452-3810
Fax:      (213) 452-4204
E-Mail:  Heather.R.Schlosser@usace.army.mil

Project Manager:
Susie Ming
Phone: (213) 452-3789
Fax:      (213) 452-4204
E-Mail: susan.m.ming@usace.army.mil

City of Encinitas:
Kathy Weldon, Program Director
Phone: (760) 633-2632
Fax:      (760) 633-2818
E-Mail: kweldon@ci.encinitas.ca.us

City of Solana Beach
Leslea Meyerhoff, Program Director, AICP
Phone: (760) 845-8028
Fax:      (760)-804-8744
E-Mail: lmeyerhoff@COSB.org