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July 30, 2012

WiLDCOAST ED Interviewed About Plans To Add 1.5 Million Cubic Yards Of Sand To Local Beaches, Starting In August

Melissa Mecija
Serge Dedina interviewed by Ms Mecija


Serge Dedina has lived in Imperial Beach almost his entire life. He is an avid surfer and leads the local environmental group Wildcoast.

 "The most important thing we can do in Imperial Beach is to protect the quality of beach that we have," he said.

 Starting in August, the San Diego Association of Governments – or SANDAG – plans to bring in about 1.5 million cubic yards of sand to local beaches from Imperial Beach to Oceanside.

 They first did this in 2001 as part of a project where they dredge sand a mile offshore and pump it back onto the beach.

 "It made the fishing better and it made the surf unreal," said Dedina.

 However, some missteps in the past brought dirty sand to the beaches.

 "We had some Army Corps projects that were really frankly disasters," said Dedina.

 Several years ago, sand was brought in from San Diego Bay in a project to widen the bay floor. Dedina said this was not a good location and it brought in debris, including metal and large shell formations.

 "Garbage dumped on our beach… and the sand was really a fine sediment in the bay that basically never resulted in leaving any sand on our beach," he said.

 SANDAG has worked with residents including Dedina for the past two years. This was to make sure prior mistakes from other projects do not happen again.

 "We have a pretty good idea, especially from our last project that we built, what type of material that we'll be putting on the beach that it is suitable," said principal regional planner Rob Brundle.

 The project is expected to cost $28 million for all the equipment and work. Dedina said if it is done the right way, it is worth the money.

 "We'll have a bigger beach by the end of the summer, so in all senses, we think it's a pretty positive project," said Dedina.

10News contacted Imperial Beach Mayor Jim Janney who said he is confident in the SANDAG project.
As far as work with the Army Corps of Engineers, Janney said it was a different type of project. He said there will be more communication with residents in the future.