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Beach sand replenishment complete

After three months, a major project to restore the San Diego region’s eroded shoreline with 1.5 million cubic yards of high-quality sand—enough to fill Qualcomm Stadium—is complete. A total of eight beaches in five cities received massive sand infusions, and the beaches are now visibly wider and sandier.

To see the dramatic difference the sand replenishment project has made, check out time-lapse videos and before-and-after photographs of some of the beaches posted to

“Without intervention, our shoreline would be greatly diminished,” SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos said. “By rebuilding severely eroded beaches, we are not just supporting our economy and protecting our quality of life, we also are providing a better buffer against high tides and storm surges that can damage coastal property.”

The project kicked off in Imperial Beach on Sept. 7, moved on to Oceanside and Encinitas in October, and wrapped up in Solana Beach and Carlsbad in November and December. Active dredging finished in north Carlsbad on Dec. 7, and all equipment removal was completed on Dec. 31. In all, the project replenished sand on approximately 19,000 feet of beach, or about 3.6 miles of coastline.

The $28.5-million sand replenishment project was the result of a multi-agency effort coordinated by SANDAG. Funding came from the California Department of Boating and Waterways, as well as from the cities of Carlsbad, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, Oceanside, and Solana Beach.

The region’s beaches have been steadily eroding over the past 20 years. Due to development, water supply projects, and flood control projects, sand is no longer flowing down rivers to our beaches. Modifications made to our coastline, such as harbors and jetties, also have stifled sand movement.

To widen the beaches, sand was dredged from designated offshore areas that met stringent criteria for cleanliness. A key goal was to find coarse-grained sand that will remain on the beaches for a longer period of time. The latest sand replenishment builds on the success of a similar effort in 2001. Gains in beach widths from that prior effort lasted for about five years on average.

Project Manager(s)

Shelby Tucker, Associate General Counsel
Phone: (619) 699-1916, E-mail:

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or