Accelerating erosion is diminishing the sand from San Clemente beaches

WAVES crash over the train tracks in San Clemente in late August, prompting closures by Metrolink between Oceanside and Laguna Hills train stations. Gavin Stay

Talie Folsom | A&E editor

October 1, 2021

Erosion on San Clemente shorelines is causing the amount of sand to decrease, reducing the amount of beach available and accelerating swells and sea-level rise. This has been an ongoing issue and is currently progressing. The sand is so important in a beach community, so as our beaches get smaller, many groups are affected such as residents, companies, surfers, and the community in general. 

“Waves were crashing over the train tracks by Cottons a few weeks ago,” senior and surfer Reese Dewey said. “This issue is affecting surfers in many ways.” The lack of sand is causing the swells and waves to reach the train tracks. With waves crashing past our beaches, how can surfers and locals utilize the beach? 

NO SAND causes WSL viewers to sit on large rocks. Reese Dewey

Not only is surfing being affected on a local level, but it is further affecting the professional surfing community as well. “My friends and I went to watch the WSL finals at lower Trestles,” Dewey said. “There was barely any room for the surf contest set-up, and without sand, we were basically sitting on rocks.” The surfing community is a very significant aspect in San Clemente, and this issue is negatively affecting it.

Many different factors are causing this erosion incident. Creeks flow differently now, and they are not able to replenish sand as frequently as they used to. Various man-made structures around the coastline interrupt the natural flow of sand. Furthermore, with a combination of erosion and sea-level rise, the sand space is rapidly decreasing every day, month, and year. With threats of no sand, residents on the beach are at complete risk, as proved by the train track incident.

SHORECLIFF’S Beach Club works on a sandbag project to prevent erosion. Shorecliffs Beach Club

“I work at Shorecliffs Beach club at Poche, and we have lost so much sand over the years,” senior Cole Edwards said. “At work, we have been shoveling sand and creating a sandbag wall to prevent erosion. We need to maintain our recreational areas, and erosion is the obstacle.” Edwards expressed how their method is successful for their facility, but this obviously cannot be a solution for the entire coastline. 

In an attempt to solve the problem, the city continues to shovel more sand to the beach. However, the city struggles to find a long-term solution to this ongoing problem. In order to prevent the beaches from eroding, it is necessary to speak more about the topic and make voices heard to the people that can do something about it. If the community makes it recognizable to local and state officials, they can put more effort and pressure into finding a long-term, sustainable solution. 

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