December 08, 2023

Picket Fence Media: Want to See Congress at Work? Look No Further Than San Clemente

Over the past several decades, coastal erosion has been slowly wearing away at California’s beaches, and San Clemente is no exception.

This erosion has threatened our beaches, impacted our coastal bluffs and endangered the LOSSAN Corridor—the second-busiest rail corridor in the country.

The need to replenish our beaches with sand is undeniable.

Despite the clear need to address the shrinking beaches, there was no recent movement from the federal government to address the issue. That’s why, when I came to Congress in 2019, I made replenishing our coastline a top priority.

Since then, I have built a relationship with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to advocate for sand replenishment projects in our district.

Today, after years of work, we are beginning to see results.

Right now, on San Clemente’s beach, the USACE and its contractor are staging the equipment that will pump up to 250,000 cubic yards of sand to the north and south of the pier.

Once the pumping begins, the sand replenishment project will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for about two months. Once completed, we will immediately see the benefits, with new, 50-foot-wide beach sand berms.

With more sand on the beach, we’ll see greater recreational opportunities for San Clemente residents. That means more space to take a walk or just take in the sun. A wider beach also means more space for tourists, and more tourists means more visitors to our local businesses.

This project also benefits our local environment. As we’ve lost more of our beaches to the ocean, we have seen an increase in landslides and erosion of our coastal bluffs. 

In Orange County this year alone, landslides have resulted in tens of millions of dollars’ worth of damage. By widening our beaches, we’re increasing the safety and stability of the bluffs and our local infrastructure like the LOSSAN Corridor. 

Put simply, this project is a win for our beaches, our local economy, and our surrounding environment. 

This sand replenishment project is the result of years of effort, planning, and collaboration between my office, USACE, local government partners, and stakeholders. It has benefited from $9 million in federal funding that I secured. These are your tax dollars at work, and it exemplifies what is possible when all levels of government work together.

I’m proud of all the work it’s taken to reach this point, and I’m grateful to the USACE, and our state and local partners, for helping deliver results for San Clemente.

We are not done yet.

In addition to San Clemente, there is another sand replenishment project underway in North County San Diego, and I look forward to seeing both projects fully completed.

And while sand replenishment projects address some symptoms of climate change, we must continue working to address the root causes.

Often these days, when I speak with my constituents, I hear about their frustrations with our leaders in Washington. If you were to turn on the news, you’d likely see several stories about partisan infighting and gridlock, and this can rightly lead to the question: What are my representatives doing for me?

Since Day 1, my No. 1 priority has been to deliver results that help the residents in our district. With this project, you don’t need to ask what we are doing for you. Just go to the beach and see for yourself.

U.S. Representative Mike Levin represents the 49th Congressional District, which includes the South Orange County cities of Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano. He was reelected for a second term in 2020 and resides in San Juan Capistrano with his wife and two children.

By:  Rep. Mike Levin
Source: Picket Fence Media