Moonlight and Cardiff beaches will be widened with more sand this fall as part of —and a new video surveillance system will monitor how all that new sand impacts local surf conditions.
Over the next several months, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will be adding a total of 1.4 million cubic yards to eight beaches spanning from Imperial Beach to Oceanside, a project estimated to cost about $20 million. The San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation will be using video cameras at six of those beaches to document any changes.
“We understand sand replenishment is part of our future, and we are not opposed to the project, but let’s learn from it—let’s see where all that sand goes,” said Julia Chunn-Heer, a Surfrider campaign coordinator. “Right now there’s no legal requirement to track that, but we hope surf spot monitoring will become a required component for all major beach projects in the future.”
Surfrider hopes to track surf conditions daily for at least two years, creating an archive and providing insight that’s never existed.
“When you talk about the impact to surf break, you’re relying heavily on anecdotal reports from local surfers, but those reports are based on a person’s experience and skill level,” said Tom Cook, another Surfrider campaign coordinator. “This will give us a subjective way to study what’s happening.”
The video footage will not be public, but Surfrider does plan to use it for educational purposes, using time-lapse technology to show people what’s happening to local surf conditions. Theoretically, new sandbars could be created and reefs could be buried, Chunn-Heer said.
“This really gets to the core of what Surfrider does. We’re here to help preserve our beaches, look out for surfers, and protect the quality of surf,” Chunn-Heer said.
Surfrider will rely on technology provided by CoastalCOMS, a company that specializes in video-based coastal monitoring. A grant from the county is funding the video project, which will monitor conditions at Imperial Beach, Fletcher Cove and Tide Beach Park in Solana Beach, Cardiff and Moonlight in Encinitas, and Tamarack Beach in Carlsbad.
The Encinitas cameras are already installed on lifeguard towers. SANDAG crews will start adding in September and that work will continue through October.
For more information about the San Diego County chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, including its beach preservation efforts, go to surfridersd.org.
For updates on SANDAG’s sand replenishment project, visit sandag.org/beachsand. To subscribe to notifications, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, call the project hotline at (619) 699-0640.