Difference between revisions of "Sand Mining in California's Central Coast Region"

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Revision as of 18:07, 5 April 2016

This page gives a short history of sand mining in the Central California Region and highlights current research.

This page was created as part of the ENVS 560/L Watershed Systems class at CSUMB.


Southern Monterey Bay in the Central coast of California was the most intensively mined shoreline in the United States from 1906-1990. [1] The majority of sand mines were closed in 1990 due to assumptions that mining increased coastal erosion. One sand mine, the CEMEX plant, continues to mine for sand today.[1] The CEMEX plant is currently under scrutinity for possibly violating a permit.


The only current sand mining plant in the central California region is located in the City of Marina, Monterey County, California. The City of Marina is located in the Lower Salinas Valley Watershed.

Resource/s at stake

Sand is a valuable resource that is used in cement to build houses, roads, ...

  • Coastal Land
  • Dune Habitat
  • Existing Coastal Development (hotels, condos, etc.)
  • Snowy Plover Habitat

The general argument is that mining threatens sand deposits on beaches.


...Who are the stakeholders in the watershed? e.g. agencies, non-profits, associations...

CEMEX is a Mexico-based, global building materials company that owns the CEMEX Lapis Plant in Marina, CA. [2]

Laws, policies, & regulations

...What laws, policies, and/or regulations are involved?...


... What elements of the biophysical system are/were involved?... Sand mining creates large pits and fissures in the earth's surface. At times, mining can extend so deeply that it affects ground water, springs, underground wells, and the water table. [3]


...What scientific studies are or would be relevant / already completed?...


  • ArcGIS and the Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) toolbox can be used to monitor changes in beach width.

Future research

...What knowledge gaps remain?...

...Suggest a CWSP MS thesis topic that could contribute to the issue...

...Suggest a topic for a hypothetical study that had unlimited resources...


  1. 1.0 1.1 Thornton et al. 2006. Sand Mining Impacts on Long-term Dune Erosion in Southern Monterey Bay.
  2. CEMEX Website About Us Page
  3. Environmental Impacts


Coastal Retreat in California's Central Coast Region


This page may contain student work completed as part of assigned coursework. It may not be accurate. It does not necessary reflect the opinion or policy of CSUMB, its staff, or students.