Local Advocates for Sustainable Oceanside Beaches


The Problem

Oceanside beaches are part of a naturally eroding sandstone bluff coastline which stretches from Dana Point to La Jolla. Rivers and streams which have supplied beaches with coarse sand have been diverted or dammed. Coastal bluffs have been developed and protected with sea walls and large rocks restricting the natural addition of sandstone to the beaches. Waves, tides, currents, and severe storms sweep sand off the beach in a southerly direction. Some of this sand is deposited on other beaches but most of it is swept out to sea to settle in offshore canyons. Our naturally wide beaches are shrinking and in some areas disappearing.

The Situation

Oceanside beaches have suffered a great loss of sand. The Henshaw Dam and all the dammed tributaries which feed into the San Luis Rey river is a major reason for the lack of sand washing down the river. The water and sand flow has also been disrupted by construction done along river banks and river mouth. Sand which normally gets washed down the San Luis Rey river during winter storms and naturally placed on our beaches was a major source of fresh sand. Also, the installation and construction of the Oceanside Harbor breakwater has blocked and redirected sand that would naturally flow south to Oceanside beaches. Public and private property have experienced damage along The Strand from severe winter storms. Residents south of Wisconsin Street have built rock walls to protect property. Beaches have shrunk north of Tyson Street and disappeared south of Wisconsin Street.

With no sand on the beach, there is a lack of public safety access for lifeguards and firefighters. Lifeguards no longer have the ability to drive their rescue vehicles along the beach to perform safety rescues. First responders now risk their own safety having to climb over and down the big boulders placed on the beaches to access the water. Those who need to be evacuated from the water now have to wait in the water for a lifeguard boat to come from the harbor.

The loss of the natural ecosystem and wildlife is already being documented and studied. We are experiencing a large disappearance of birds, fish, sand crabs and etc. The Beaches in Oceanside have always been home to many shorebirds. The western snowy plovers population has been in decline for several years due to a loss of habitat and disturbances along local beaches. The western snowy plovers need open sandy areas with some vegetation to nest in.

From March through August, Southern California beaches become mating grounds to the California Grunion. Grunion are (sardine-sized) fish which land themselves on the local beaches with the assistance of waves at high tide as they try to swim as far up the sandy beach as possible. As the female buries her tail in the sand nest, the male mates and fertilizes the eggs. After the fertilized eggs are deposited in the sand away from seawater, the eggs will incubate and be kept moist by the wet sand. While incubating, they are subject to many predators such as shore birds. The eggs will remain in the wet sand for about 10 days before hatching and returning to the ocean.

The beach is the number one reason for tourists to visit Oceanside. Tourists spent $351 million in Oceanside in 2018. Tourist and other visitors are often disappointed with the lack of sand Oceanside beaches. Short term renters are finding that many tourist do not return because of our beaches and the lack of a sandy playground. The economic impact to Oceanside (and all of San Diego County) due to the loss of tourism will create a great loss of jobs and tax revenue. Surf contests and other recreational events which Oceanside hosts will have to relocate due to a lack of sand on the beach. The significant economic impact of tourism in Oceanside and San Diego is in jeopardy.

The Solution

With the use of groins, which will extend into the ocean a short distance and the annual harbor dredging with beach replenishment, our beaches will be protected and the sand preserved. !S.O.S.Oceanside! is proposing 5 groins which would be back filled with sand from the annual harbor dredging. The reason we propose each groin to be back filled with sand is to create an environment which will not inhibit the natural winter storm southern migration of sand. We propose each groin to be built along the Oceanside coast at locations where construction is feasible. Riprap rock groins at Tyson Street, Wisconsin Street, Oceanside Boulevard, Buccaneer Beach, and St. Malo should be built to create and preserve sandy beaches. As a result, larger sandy beaches will protect public and private property from storm swells and allow visitors to enjoy Oceanside beaches.

We are asking the city to get approval and to construct a series of protective groins along our coast.


Come to Meetings


Next Meeting at

Monday, September 23, 2019