Sand project underway at OC beaches after decade-long delay

Orange County officials are working to mitigate the issue of "beach shrinkage" with the re-implementation of their sand project – one that has been long-awaited in the area. 

Beach shrinkage is often caused by the building of harbors and storm channels, which disturbs the natural sand levels on the beach, officials said.

The operation has been shelved since 2009 due to federal funding delays, marking 14 years since the last project of its kind. But now, backed by a $23 million budget, officials say that the OC sand project is ready to go.

The plan is to scoop sand from offshore Oceanside in San Diego, and to then spread throughout Newport Beach, San Clemente and Surfside areas.


According to officials, the ocean's swells and currents are then expected to help spread the new sand toward the south beaches.

The shrinking beaches have alarmed officials and residents in recent years, who said they worry about not just the loss of recreation space, but for the sand buffer needed to keep infrastructure, roads and homes safe from the sea. Beaches are also significant draws for Orange County's tourism and economy, so officials hope that this project will encourage more to visit the area again.

Once the sand is transported to its intended areas, officials plan to monitor the sand's volume and movements closely, to better ensure its efficacy and for future planning.