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In an effort to slow erosion at Fletcher Cove, a popular strip of coastline in Solana Beach, the United States Army Corps of Engineers proposes constructing an artificial offshore reef. The reef's main purpose would be to prevent heavy storms and high tides from taking sand off the beach and lessening the impact high surf would inflict on the nearby bluffs. Other project goals include reducing impacts to surfing conditions and underwater sea life.

During the November 10 Solana Beach city council meeting, Heather Schlosser of from the Army Corps of Engineers delivered a 25-minute presentation to the councilmembers on the project's status.

According to Schlosser, phase one, which was started back in July of 2008 and completed this month, focused on the beginning stages of design. And although the composition of the reef has yet to be determined, engineers determined the correct size for the reef is approximately 60 feet wide by 270 feet long.

Now that phase one is complete, The Army Corps of Engineers is set to begin work on phase two, as soon as the $350,000 in federal funding is secured. Phase two includes settling on a design and examining the impacts an artificial reef might have on the popular surf break, as well as any public safety issues that may arise.

Once phase two is complete, construction is expected to begin by 2011, that is, after the city council holds a public vote on the project.

After the presentation, Solana Beach mayor and local surfer Mike Nichols expressed concern that the design shown during Schlosser's presentation might negatively impact the local surf break.

"This design to me, not being a scientist, is rather flat and square and not something that would be conducive to allow waves to peel and break in the way you want them to," said Nichols. "Is that something you are researching in our area? In terms of specific directions swells come in during the summer and winter."

Schlosser reassured Nichols that impacts to surfing conditions will be explored in depth during phase two of the project.

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