Sand Mining in California's Central Coast Region

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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.

Summary

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]

Location

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 in cement to build houses, roads, ... to make glass and omputer chips [4]

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

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

Stakeholders

  • CEMEX is a Mexico-based, global building materials company that owns the CEMEX Lapis Plant in Marina, CA. [5]
  • The Surfrider Foundation Monterey Chapter [6]
  • National Marine Sanctuary

Laws, policies, & regulations

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

Systems

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. [7]

Science

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

Sediment distribution and transport along a rocky, embayed coast: Monterey Peninsula and Carmel Bay, California [8]

Sand Mining Impacts on Long-term Dune Erosion in Southern Monterey Bay [1]

Tools

  • 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...

References

  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. CEMEX Website About Us Page
  6. Surfrider Foundation's CEMEX Sand Mining Campaign
  7. Environmental Impacts
  8. 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.]

Links

Coastal Retreat in California's Central Coast Region

Disclaimer

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.