Oceanside Secures $57,000 State Grant for Coastal Dune Restoration Project

by Anna

Oceanside’s North Strand and Harbor Beach are set to undergo a transformative restoration, thanks to a recently awarded $57,000 state grant. The Oceanside Coastal Dune Restoration Project, a relatively low-budget initiative, aims to restore sand dunes and native plants along these picturesque coastal areas.

The beach, protected from erosion by a substantial jetty and nourished by regular harbor dredging, boasts an impressive width of approximately 500 feet from the harbor parking lot to the water’s edge.

The primary objective of the project, as outlined in a staff report, is to deploy a nature-based solution that elevates the back beach away from the waves and preserves sand in areas where sandy resources persist. In addition to this, the project aims to restore rare native coastal dune habitat.

Rincon Consultants, a statewide firm with an office in Carlsbad, was contracted in March this year with a $15,519 agreement to develop preliminary plans. The Oceanside City Council is expected to accept a $56,876 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, allowing Rincon to complete the project at a total cost of up to $84,501.

The construction of the dunes is anticipated to commence in the early fall of 2024, covering approximately one acre. Jayme Timberlake, Oceanside’s coastal zone administrator, assures that the dunes at Harbor Beach will be situated in areas not occupied by beachgoers due to the beach’s substantial width.

“The dunes at Harbor Beach will be … in areas that are not occupied by beachgoers due to the width of (the beach) and proximity of the ocean,” Timberlake stated. Along North Strand, smaller dunes will be created, ranging from 0.05 to 0.10 acres, with designated paths for accessibility.

Temporary measures, including four-foot-tall slotted fencing and 12-inch cedar slats, will be employed to capture wind-blown sand until the plants become established. The dunes are expected to reach a maximum height of 4 feet, sustaining vegetation year-round and widening over time.

The staff report emphasizes the significance of native vegetation persisting on the dunes, flowering throughout various seasons, and enhancing biodiversity.

This coastal dune project, seen as a pilot initiative, stands separate from but complementary to Oceanside’s larger Re:Beach project, which aims to replenish and retain sand on eroded beaches south of the city’s pier. The City Council is anticipated to select a preferred contractor for the Re:Beach project early next year, although construction funding is yet to be secured.

Sand dunes, recognized as a low-cost, nature-based solution, serve as a natural defense against storms, beach erosion, and potential sea-level rise. Beyond their protective role, they contribute to biodiversity and provide a habitat for rare native plant species and wildlife. Oceanside’s dune restoration pilot project is expected to inform future design solutions for the region’s coastline.

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