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Questions & Answers
1. What is sand management, and why do we need it?
Sand management, also referred to as dredging, is a method of flood prevention. Sand accumulates due to both rain events occurring upstream and and to tidal flow at the mouth of the river. In the event of a major rainstorm or high tidal activity at the coastline, the channel needs its full capacity to minimize the risk of flooding in the surrounding areas, including homes and businesses.
Clearing the channel allows excess water to flow naturally between the channel and the ocean.
The sand removed from the river channel is filtered and then used for beach replenishment. The beach naturally erodes as the waves and tide pull sand out to the ocean. The river sand is restored to the beach below the surf line, using near-shore pipelines.
2. Will this process need to be repeated in the future?
Sand management was previously conducted in this area in 2004. Weather and climate conditions affect the speed of sand build-up and determine how often sand management must be conducted to prevent flooding.
3. Who is in charge of the sand management project?
The County of Orange is overseeing the project and has hired CJW Construction, Inc. to manage and perform the activities. 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.
4. Where will the project take place?
Sand will be removed along the lower Santa Ana River from near the coastline to just north of Adams Avenue, near Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. The sand will be safely transported via a pipeline to near-shore areas of Newport Beach’s coastline.
Sand may also be used to replenish other Orange County beaches.
5. When will the work occur?
Land work will occur from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Sand management equipment in the channel will operate 24/7.
6. When will the project happen?
Sand management equipment is expected to be set up on-site near the mouth of the Santa Ana River in August 2016. Operations are expected to begin in September and may continue through May 2017. This anticipated schedule may be subject to change depending on adverse weather conditions or other factors.
7. How will safety of the public be maintained in project areas?
Residents will be advised to avoid active work areas where there will be heavy equipment and construction activities. Signs and fencing will be utilized.
8. What are the potential visual impacts during the project?
Sand management equipment will be visible in some areas of the Santa Ana River.
Fencing will be erected around equipment staging areas.
Sand piles may temporarily block views at staging areas on County property near the mouth of the river until the sand is relocated.
The sand conveyance pipeline will be partially visible along the beach throughout the project. Caution signs will be posted to maintain safety.
Sand discharge pipelines will be visible between the jetties.
Areas of the ocean near the shoreline where the filtered sand is discharged may temporarily be somewhat cloudy as the sand settles.
9. Will the “dog beach” area be affected?
The Orange County Board of Supervisors is continuing to explore whether off-leash dogs will be allowed on County property at the mouth of the river while ensuring the area remains safe and clean for visitors and the environment..
Sand management efforts at the mouth of the river will relocate built-up sand in order to restore the natural tidal flow in the flood channel area. Visitors can expect to see an increase water levels in the area for an unknown period of time.
10. What are the potential noise impacts?
The project team will comply with county and city noise control regulations. All efforts will be made to minimize potential noise impacts. Noise will arise from sand management equipment operating within the channel as well as construction vehicles in staging areas.
11. Where will trash and other debris that is collected be moved?
After filtering sand from the river bed area, any collected material will be trucked to an area landfill.
The project team will monitor the flow of sand to ensure it is free of trash and debris.
12. How might the project impact traffic?
Equipment and large vehicles entering and exiting the site will yield to all public roadway traffic. Delivery of equipment is expected to occur via Seashore Drive and Orange Street.
If there is a need to move sand to other beaches using project vehicles, those vehicles are expected to use an access road on the north side of the river near Pacific Coast Highway .
13. How will good air quality be maintained?
Dust control will be performed a minimum of four times per day to ensure compliance with air quality standards. Truck trips will be limited and consolidated when possible, vehicle idling times will be kept to a minimum, and a water truck will periodically dampen the dirt to control rising dust.
14. Can I still access the beach?
Beaches will remain open except during temporary spot closures as needed. Residents should keep away from pipelines and sand management equipment.
15. Will the bike paths along the Santa Ana River remain open?
The bike trail along the west side of the river will remain open. The east side trail will be temporarily closed between PCH and Victoria Street.
16. Will sand management operations introduce pollution into the ocean?
No. The project will comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements, including water quality testing and any necessary treatment prior to discharge. In addition, every effort will be made to prevent trash and debris from being discharged with the filtered sand. The filtered sand will be deposited approximately 800 feet from shore and approximately 30 feet below the water’s surface.
17. Will vegetation and wildlife be impacted?
We are working very closely with environmental regulatory agencies on this project and will comply with strict local and state regulations regarding wildlife, including taking care not to disturb nesting bird species.
Care will be taken to avoid disturbing vegetation, when possible, and keep contact to a minimum. Where vegetation is removed upon approval from environmental regulatory agencies, areas will be re-seeded with California-friendly plants upon project completion.
Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services.
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