News from University of California, Irvine

UC Irvine professor outlines solutions to beach erosion

Brett Sanders, professor of civil and environmental engineering, shared his expertise on the drivers and processes affecting beach erosion along Southern California’s coastline at the 2024 Orange County Council of Governments annual conference. The event was on March 29 at the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda in a 4,800-square-foot replica of the White House East Room. He participated in a panel discussion titled “The Future of Infrastructure Along our Sensitive Coast,” along with Grace Leung, Newport Beach city manager; Dan Phu, sustainability planning manager with the Orange County Transportation Authority; and Cody Tubbs, director of public affairs for SoCal Edison. Sanders discussed the impact of infrastructure projects such as dams and river channeling on the amount of sand that reaches Orange County’s beaches, and he shared recent data documenting the patterns of beach loss and beach widening across the county. He put extra emphasis on the economic and social importance of maintaining the health of the county’s beaches. “Beaches are important to Orange County on so many levels – a place to have fun with family and friends, a major driver of tourism to our region, protection from damaging storms, and an important link in our coastal ecosystems,” said Sanders. “Solving the problem of beach erosion is well within our reach, but it will require coordinated county-wide effort. Sustainable solutions will be found inland of the coast – restoring the natural processes that supply sand to beaches.”