OC Supervisor Katrina Foley Underscores Sand Nourishment as Solution for Coastal Rail Resiliency

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, who serves on the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors, released a statement on the announcement by OCTA to include sand nourishment as a key element in the Initial Assessment of the Coastal Rail Resiliency Study. The Initial Assessment is OCTA’s immediate term plan to protect the rail corridor through next winter, outlining millions in spending on stabilization measures.  

OCTA’s updated potential solutions are detailed in a report to be presented to the agency’s Regional Transportation Planning Committee on Monday, May 6, and to the full Board of Directors on Monday, May 13. The updates follow multiple listening sessions, OCTA Board feedback, and other stakeholder input on OCTA’s Coastal Rail Resiliency Study – an effort to protect a critical link in Southern California’s rail infrastructure.  

“Throughout this process since 2022, my message to OCTA has been clear: sand nourishment is a proven strategy to protect the rail corridor,” said Supervisor Foley. “We know that wide, sandy beaches protect the rail line, our environment, our coastal communities, and our economy. I thank OCTA for working with my office to amend their Initial Assessment to include sand nourishment. I look forward to continuing to work with the agency to save our beaches and see this vision through implementation.” 

OCTA’ Coastal Rail Resiliency Study aims to evaluate and implement short- and medium-term strategies to keep rail traffic moving through the area for up to the next 30 years, while longer-term solutions are explored. OCTA is currently evaluating immediate term, mid term, and long-term strategies for protecting a vulnerable 7-mile stretch of the LOSSAN Rail Corridor in south Orange County. This area between Dana Point and the San Diego County Line has experienced significant erosion of both beaches and hillsides, which disrupted rail service several times throughout the past three years.  


OCTA’s Initial Assessment, released in February 2024, identifies hotspots along this 7-mile corridor susceptible to risk from bluff failures and coastal erosion within the next two years and recommends several solutions for projects that will create a more resilient corridor. Sand replenishment was not initially included as a strategy for protecting the rail corridor in the immediate term.  

OCTA’s latest update to the Initial Assessment now includes potential reinforcement strategies such as sand nourishment in conjunction with building additional catchment walls and engineering placement of large protective boulders (known as riprap), where appropriate. The updated initial assessment also identifies areas along that stretch in need of reinforcement and monitoring.  

The updated potential solutions for immediate reinforcement include providing sand nourishment in conjunction with building additional catchment walls and engineering placement of large protective boulders (known as riprap.) According to OCTA, approximately 500,000 cubic yards of sand have been identified as needed, enough to cover 285 football fields in one foot of sand.  

Rough estimates on the updated potential solutions range from approximately $210 million to $340 million depending on multiple factors including the permitting process, and availability of materials, and specialized equipment, including sourcing and delivery methods for sand nourishment. 

At the same time as the initial assessment is moving forward, OCTA continues working on the Coastal Rail Resiliency Study, meeting with groups of stakeholders in individual listening sessions to discuss the study and get input along the way. A public meeting to gain additional feedback is set from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on May 30, at San Clemente City Hall.   


Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2022 to represent the newly established District 5, which includes the cities of Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, a large portion of Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, as well as the unincorporated areas of Coto de Caza, Emerald Bay, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Rancho Mission Viejo, Stonecliffe and Wagon Wheel. This is her second term on the Board of Supervisors, where she previously served District 2. 

Supervisor Foley’s Board appointments include the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), Chair – OCFA Legislation & Public Affairs Committee, Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), Vice Chair – OCTA Legislative and Communications Committee, Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency, Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA), TCA Joint Capital Improvements and Projects Committee, Coastal Greenbelt Authority, Newport Bay and South Orange County Watershed Executive Committees, Ocean Institute, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) Community Engagement Panel, Co-Chair – Spent Fuel Solutions Coalition, Chair – Orange County Housing Finance Trust, and the Orange County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council.