SCOUPing the Sand

Retaining sand on Del Mar beaches is a complicated process. Many agencies are involved. A sought after commodity internationally, disappearing sand will only get more valuable with sea level rise as communities vie for replenishment sources and funds.


Del Mar is currently implementing the recommended action from the plan for creation of a Sand Compatibility Opportunistic Use Program (SCOUP) approved by the City Council in August 2020. “We are still in process of trying to obtain SCOUP permit approvals from the applicable federal and state permitting authorities (US Army Corps of Engineers, California Coastal Commission, State Lands Commission, Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife). Once approved, the City would be able to accept beach quality sand when it becomes available for placement on the beach” reports Amanda Lee, Principal Planner. Meanwhile “Southern California Edison (SCE) (as part of their mitigation obligation) is planning to do their next beach replenishment project on Del Mar beach in November 2022 using dredged sand material from the San Dieguito river inlet. These projects typically happen every other year and involve 16,000 to 20,000 cubic yards of sand,” said Lee. “My understanding is that SCE is obligated to keep the river inlet open until they have met the performance criteria identified in their Coastal Commission issued Coastal Development Permit. They have not come close to meeting this criteria so there is no expectation of their obligation ending anytime in the near future.”


The procedure is detailed on the City’s Sediment Management Plan website. You can find out information on what’s happening with the sand and what might in the future and, yes, it is all related to climate change: https// You can opt for a brief overview: https//

Photo by Julie Maxie-Allison.