Lower Santa Ana River Sand Management


Important Update: Temporary Area Closure at Santa Ana River Outlet in Newport Beach

Starting January 30 and continuing through approximately May 2017, the sand shoals at the east side of the ocean outlet of the Santa Ana River will be temporarily closed to the public to remove and relocate approximately 25,000 cubic yards of excess sand from the riverbed.  Storm water and tidal flows to the Pacific Ocean will still be maintained at the ocean outlet.  For location and more details, click here


 

Project Purpose

The Santa Ana River Sand Management Project is designed to remove approximately 1 million cubic yards of excess sand from the Lower Santa Ana River, which also serves as a flood control channel. This activity, managed by the County of Orange, is a requirement that will greatly minimize the risk of flooding for adjacent communities in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa. 

Project Improvements

  • Clear sand build-up from the Santa Ana River to improve its flow and capacity
  • Safely restore sand to beaches where erosion occurs by placing it near-shore in the ocean

The County of Orange is working collaboratively with the City of Newport Beach and is using various channels to inform and update residents. The County hired CJW Construction to perform project operations.

Project Area

  • Sand clearing: Lower Santa Ana River from the shoreline to just north of Adams Ave., near Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa.
  • Sand restoration: Near-shore areas of Newport Beach. See sand discharge map here.

Anticipated Schedule

  • Set up: September 2016
  • Operations: September 2016 – May 2017

Project Preparations (Mid/Late Summer 2016)

  • Set-up will occur 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Mon.-Sat.
  • Safety signs and fencing will mark work areas. Pipelines partially buried on beaches. Residents and beach visitors should keep away from pipelines.
  • Beaches will remain open. Partial closures will be limited to set-up and pipe-laying areas.
  • Bike trail along west side of the river will remain open. The east side trail will be temporarily closed between PCH and Victoria Street.
  • Large project vehicles will yield to all public traffic and emergency responders. 

Sand Management Operations (Late Summer/Early Fall 2016)

  • Sand management equipment in channel will operate 24/7
  • Safety signs and fencing will mark work areas. Pipelines partially buried on beaches. Residents and beach visitors should keep away from pipelines.
  • Beaches will remain open except during spot closures as needed. Residents should keep away from project pipes and equipment.
  • Bike trail along west side of the river will remain open. The east side trail will be temporarily closed between PCH and Victoria Street.
  • Large project vehicles will yield to all public traffic and emergency responders.

Sand Screening Process

  • The lower portion of the river will be “suction dredged” with screens on a dredging vessel, which will also be capturing debris and rocks.
  • The upper portion of the river will use a “screen plant” to remove vegetation and debris.
  • The screened sand from the upper portion will be sent to the dredging vessel for a final screening before being placed nearshore.

SAND PROGRESS

 

Sand Sampling & Testing

Comprehensive Testing:

  • Grain size and chemical testing
  • At various depths along the river
  • Evaluations of river material in comparison to both human health and marine habitat organisms toxicity criteria

131 chemical tests at 36 river locations for:

  • Sediment conventionals
  • Metals
  • Polyaromatic hydrocarbons
  • Organics: phenols, arcolors, PCB congengers
  • Chlorinated pesticides
  • Pthalates

Test Results:

  • Grain size: Material is compatible for beach nourishment
  • Chemicals: Material is acceptable to both human health & marine habitat organisms

Third Party Review: Results were extensively reviewed and approved by a collective group
of regulatory agencies (No hazardous material spills documented since March 2015 testing)

sand sampling

Project Safety Measures

  • Signs & fencing for public safety
  • Beach pipe partially buried for safety visibility while continuing beach access
  • Daily monitoring of West Newport Beach to collect any items that passed through screens
  • Flag personnel for pedestrian safety at the west-side path during sand truck hauling
  • Floating buoy markers at near-shore sand discharge areas (with Coast Guard approved strobe lights for safety awareness)

safety

Coordinating Agencies on this Project

  • County of Orange 
  • City of Newport Beach
  • City of Huntington Beach
  • City of Costa Mesa
  • City of Fountain Valley
  • City of San Clemente
  • California Coastal Commission
  • Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • California State Lands Commission
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Marine Fisheries Services

  • Signs & fencing for public safety

 Frequently Asked Questions