Encinitas officials have dedicated a half-mile “living shoreline” of new sand dunes that will protect Coast Highway 101 from ocean surges while beautifying the beach.
Work on the $2.5 million Cardiff State Beach Living Shoreline project began in October using excavated sands from the San Elijo Lagoon inlet and was completed earlier this month. An official dedication took place on Wednesday.
The shoreline between Restaurant Row and South Cardiff State Beach now supports flowering native plant species with coastal dune plants beginning to take root. It’s anticipated that the protected dunes will host endangered species like the snowy plover.
There’s also improved public access to the beach, with new pedestrian pathways constructed through the dunes and along the full site, connecting with a sidewalk at the south end.
“This project is an example of state, regional and local cooperation at its finest, with agencies uniting to protect our environment, wildlife habitat, beaches and transportation infrastructure from the impacts of climate change and sea level rise. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our many partners on this project,” said Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear.
The project was led by the California Coastal Conservancy and the City of Encinitas, with support from the Nature Collective, California State Parks, UCLA, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
“Cardiff Beach’s dunes are an example of green infrastructure, an innovative new concept in shoreline resilience,” said Sam Schuchat, executive officer for the coastal conservancy. “This project uses natural features to protect communities from sea level rise while also creating wildlife habitat.”
Officials said the project is a pilot for other Southern California cities facing similar sea level rise and climate change challenges.
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