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

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==== Local Government ====
==== Local Government ====
[[City of Marina]]
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Revision as of 16:02, 7 April 2016

This page gives a short history of sand mining in California's Central Coast Region and highlights the CEMEX Lapis Plant. The page does not discuss gravel mining that occurs inland.

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 Lapis Plant is currently under scrutinity for possibly violating a permit. The sand mining market in the United States is slightly over a billion dollars per year. [2]


The only sand mining plant currently operating in California's Central Coast region, and the United States, is located in the City of Marina, Monterey County, California. The CEMEX Lapis Plant is located eight miles north of Monterey, California along Highway 1. [3] The City of Marina is located in the Lower Salinas River Watershed.

Resources At Stake

  • Sand is a valuable resource that is used to make glass, computer chips, in cement to build houses and roads, and more. [4]
  • Coastal Land
  • Dune Habitat
  • Existing Coastal Development (hotels, condos, etc.)
  • Snowy Plover Habitat

In December 2014, CalAm began work on a test slant intake well located at the CEMEX sand mining facility in North Marina[5]. Due to the presence of the Western Snowy Plover breeding grounds (threatened under the Endangered Species Act) near the test slant well, the location had to be returned to its original conditions by February 28, 2015[6].


Local Government


  • CEMEX is a Mexico-based, global building materials company that owns the CEMEX Lapis Plant in Marina, CA. [7]



Laws, policies, & regulations

  • Local Coastal Program Business Permit that CEMEX needs from the City of Marina
  • Coastal Development Permit
  • California Coastal Act

CEMEX does not currently have a Coastal Development Permit.[8] The plant is able to operate solely through the Local Coastal Program from the City of Marina.[8] Since CEMEX Lapis Plant has been in operation before the Calfornia Coastal Act, the plant has been "grandfathered-in".[8] Nonprofits such as The Surfrider Foundation and Save Our Shores are calling for the Coastal Commission to review the permit.[8]

Systems and Processes

Sand mining creates large pits and fissures in the earth's surface. Sand mining can extend so deeply that it could affect ground water, springs, underground wells, and the water table. [9]

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


  • Sand Mining Impacts on Long-term Dune Erosion in Southern Monterey Bay [1]
  • Sediment distribution and transport along a rocky, embayed coast: Monterey Peninsula and Carmel Bay, California [10]
  • Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plan For Southern Monterey Bay [11]


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

Future research

Data Gaps: See Chapter 11, Section 11.1 and 11.2, Page 152

CEMEX In The News







  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Thornton et al. 2006. Sand Mining Impacts on Long-term Dune Erosion in Southern Monterey Bay. Marine Geology 229.1:45-58.
  2. Wikipedia page on sand mining
  3. CEMEX Lapis Plant
  4. Sand Wars Movie Website
  5. In brief: Test slant well intake for Monterey Peninsula project now underway
  6. MPWSP Temporary Slant Test Well, Project Description
  7. CEMEX Website About Us Page
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Website Page Save Our Shores
  9. Environmental Impacts
  10. Storlazzi, CD and Field, ME. 2000. Sediment distribution and transport along a rocky, embayed coast: Monterey Peninsula and Carmel Bay, California. Marine Geology 170.3: 289-316.]
  11. Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plan For Southern Monterey Bay


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.