The strong storm and big waves that hit on Sunday, March 6, have forced officials to shut down the parking lot at Cardiff State Beach.
The beach’s sand has been washed away, and several inches of it cover the lot, along with debris. Concrete parking stops and picnic tables have been thrown around. The lifeguard tower, restrooms, and the pay station were undamaged, although their bases are covered with sand.
As of high tide on March 9, high waves still threatened to toss cobblestones onto the lot.
“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Robin Greene, superintendent for state parks’ San Diego Coast District. Greene has been working in the area since the '90s.
Greene reported that heavy-equipment crews are working overtime at Doheny State Beach (in Orange County) because that low-lying campground and beach were almost completely lost by the storm.
“I expect them to be here [in Cardiff] by Friday [March 11] and hopefully be back open this weekend,” said Greene.
The cost of restoration will be minimal to the budget-strapped department, as state-park maintenance crews will be able to get the park reopened without having to hire outside contractors.
As far as the sand replenishment of the now-cobblestone-packed beach, that will be left up to Mother Nature, as it is every year. “It’s a natural process,” said Greene. The lagoon mouth will open and hopefully deposit draining sand back onto the beach.
The parks department tries hard to avoid upsetting the natural sand bars that often block lagoons, but they did have to reopen Los Peñaquitos Lagoon channel at Torrey Pines State Beach this week due to a complete blockage by cobblestones.