Ocean Beach sandbar to ward off erosion

There will be a new sandbar off Ocean Beach after a ship spends the next 8-10 days depositing sand dredged from the Bay’s main shipping channel.

The new sandbar, estimated to be 1,000 feet long, will help protect the beach south of Sloat Boulevard and Great Highway from erosion that has whittled away the usable land there, officials said.

Starting today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge ship Essayons, which can hold 300 dump trucks’ worth of sand, will begin removing sand from five miles out in San Francisco Bay’s main channel and dropping it about a half-mile off the southern end of Ocean Beach, near Sloat Boulevard and Fort Funston.

The additional sand will allow the sandbars to reshape themselves, “hopefully” improving the surfing breaks, said Peter Mull, the project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who also surfs at Ocean Beach.

Dredging the channel to 55 feet deep for commercial vessel traffic is necessary, as natural sediment builds up over time, Mull said. The Bay is one of three main gateways on the West Coast for container cargoes along with San Pedro Bay in Southern California and Puget Sound in Washington State, according to the Port of Oakland Web site.

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