High Tide Clearing at San Elijo Lagoon Inlet

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Excess san Removal, December 27-28, Underway at San Elijo Lagoon’s Ocean Connection


Excavator moves sand from the inlet at Cardiff State Beach.

You may be wondering why earthmovers are back on Cardiff State Beach. The ocean connection with San Elijo Lagoon is blocked as a result of recent winter storms and high tides.

When sands get trapped in the San Elijo Lagoon inlet, ocean tides do not freely flow in and out. Opening the channel restores tidal flows. We did this in April (see post) and September.

This is an unscheduled inlet opening because of the effects of recent rainfall. The lagoon is full from all the storm runoff. The inlet started closing before the king tides on December 22 and 23.


The excavator then spreads the sands removed from the tidal channel onto the beach.

Our partners in lagoon restoration construction are helping clear out the sands today and tomorrow. 


View of the inlet clearing at the Historic Coast Highway 101 bridge.

In addition to high tides this time of year, we witnessed king tides, which are especially high tide events, when there is an alignment of the gravitational pull between sun and moon. In the U.S. they are predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Sea level rise will make today’s king tides our future’s everyday tides. As a result, high tides are reaching higher and extending farther inland. 

We are partners in the California Coastal Commission’s Snap the Shore, See the Future. You can participate in the next king tide event, January 20 and 21, 2019 by sharing your photos of these extreme high tides.

View of a king tide on Cardiff State Beach (photo courtesy California State Parks via California King Tides Project).

Lagoon inlet opening work ends on Friday, December 28. Have fun on the trails and the beaches this Holiday!

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