⚠️ Protect The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary From Losing ≈ 700 Million Pounds of Illegally Mined Sand Annually.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SAND MINING IN THE MONTEREY BAY
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is home to the last active coastal sand mining operation in the entire United States. It’s called the Lapis Lustre Sand Mine. The century-old plant is located on the beach in Marina, California and is currently operated by CEMEX, an international building material powerhouse. CEMEX dredges sand from a large man-made pond on the beach, which is replenished every time waves push sand into the pond. The capture of this sand is at the heart of contention – It’s sand that would otherwise work its way down the coast into the Southern Monterey Bay, restoring beaches along the way.
Sand is a precious resource, vital to the integrity of our coastline. The Southern Monterey Bay already has the highest rate of erosion along the entire 840 mile coast of California. Adding the Lapis Lustre Sand Mine into the mix exacerbates mass-scale erosion. Scientific studies from multiple sources have listed the mine as the single largest cause of erosion impacting the Southern Monterey Bay.
The mine is responsible for the loss of 6-14 acres of beachfront land annually.
The mine is responsible for the loss of 6-14 acres of beachfront land annually.
To date, the Lapis Lustre Sand Mine has been reported to remove approximately 200,000 – 350,000 cubic yards of sand every year from the dredge pond. That’s approximately 700 million pounds of illegal sand or equivalent to nearly 2,000 adult blue whales, making it the “largest anthropogenic impact on all the California coastline.” It’s costing taxpayers millions, endangering the sensitive habitats of federally threatened species and it’s all happening within the boundaries of one of the largest and most diverse National Marine Sanctuaries in America.
Here’s The Nitty Gritty:
- The Local Coastal Program (LCP) from the City of Marina turned their decision making powers over to California Coastal Commission in February of 2016.
- The Sand mine was deemed illegal based on several Coastal Act violations cited in a “notice of intent” letter (a precursor to a cease-and-desist order) issued by the California Coastal Commission against the operation in March of 2016.
- Since then, CEMEX has been granted multiple extensions to respond to the notice.
- In a recent study conducted by Ed Thorton (professor emeritus at the Naval Postgraduate School and an internationally recognized expert on coastal processes), CEMEX has doubled if not tripled their mining yield without notifying or confirming with the Coastal Commission.
- With new evidence that the dredge pond is now being contacted by the ocean below Mean High Tide/Water, jurisdiction over the sand mining operation could also involve the State Lands Commission as well as the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary because of the implied discharge caused by the exchange of water between the ocean and the pound via a “channel.”
- The City of Marina, the City of Monterey, the County of Santa Cruz and many more local municipalities and counties have already written letters to both the Coastal Commission and State Lands Commission in support of closing the sand mine.
- On May 1st, 2017, more than 2,000 public signed #SaveOurSand letters where sent to key decision makers in the Coastal Commission, State Lands Commission, including Gov Brown, asking them to listen to the science and put an end to illegal sand mining in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
- On May 16, 2017, the State Lands Commission “issued a notice today ordering the foreign-owned corporation
CEMEX to comply with state law or cease its sand mining operations.” The order asks CEMEX to apply for a land use lease, which is subject to an environmental impact report.
- The Costal Commission is set to provide a decision recommendation at their next monthly meeting on July 12-14 at the CSUMB World Theater in Seaside, CA.
- To date, CEMEX has yet to comply.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO
Join our community in support of the California Coastal Commission’s fight to end harmful erosion caused by the CEMEX Lapis Lustre Sand Mining Plant in Marina and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Your voice counts!
Share news articles and this page using #SaveOurSand to help build awareness!
OUR NEXT EVENT
CA Coastal Commission Meeting: a decision will be announced
The California Coastal Commission is holding their next Central Coast meeting on July 12-14th at the CSUMB World Theater in Seaside, CA. Keep the dates open for now until they release the official agenda!
We need you there… The illegal sand mine in Marina, CA is slated to be on the agenda and our network indicates that a decision recommendation will be presented. Public support is a must. Mark your calendars, this could be our last stand with the Coastal Commission to end harmful erosion caused by the illegal sand mine.
There’ll be a public comments period, we encourage everyone to speak! Organic coffee and #SaveOurSand protest signs will be provided to liven the mood and display unity.
– WHEN? JULY 12-14th (time and specific date TBA)
– WHERE? CSUMB World Theater – 5260 6th Ave, Seaside, CA 93955, USA
So Far We Have:
- Hosted documentary film screenings about sand mining to build public awareness
- Held rallies at the Coastal Commission’s monthly meetings and State Lands Commission meetings in support of closing the mine
- Organized public demonstrations that encourage the CEMEX operation to cooperate and comply with the Coastal Commission
- Partnered with community organizations like Surfrider Monterey to strengthen our collective impact
- Assisted in producing a local documentary short film about the Lapis Lustre Sand Mine
- Developed, in partnership with Surfrider Monterey, a Mine Monitor program, to monitor how often their dredge pound is breached below Mean High Tide/Water
- Launched #SaveOurSand letter writing campaign to the California Coastal Commission, State Lands Commission and local politicians, sending more than 2,000 signed letters
- Testified at local City Hall and County Hearings about the sand mine, garnering official support to end illegal sand mining
SAND MINING IN THE NEWS
Share these links using #SaveOurSand to help build awareness!
- “Controversial Marina sand mine is examined by documentary, Santa Cruz nonprofit launches protest against mining” | Santa Cruz Sentinel
- “Pressure Mounts To Close CEMEX Sand Mine” | CBS SF Bay Area
- “Groups protest Cemex sand mining in Marina” | Central Coast News KION
- “Ignoring state threats, firm keeps sucking sand from Monterey Bay” | San Francisco Chronicle
- “Sand mining: the global environmental crisis you’ve probably never heard of” | The Guardian
- “Powerful swell forces evacuation of Cemex dredge boat” | Monterey County Weekly
- “CEMEX protestors rally at Coastal Commission meeting in Scotts Valley” | Central Coast News KION
- “Monterey Sand Mine Targeted For Closure Over Beach Erosion Concerns” | CBS SF Bay Area
- “Cemex: The sand mining conundrum” | Monterey Herald
- “Beach Mining in Monterey Bay Causes a Dustup” – WSJ
- “Coastal Commission Says Marina Sand Plant Violates Coastal Act, CEMEX Disagrees” | 90.3 KAZU
- “Beach erosion, sand loss could be costly to Monterey Bay economy” | Santa Cruz Sentinel
- “Marina sand mine operated illegally since 1965” Monterey County Weekly
- “Coastal Commission orders Marina sand mining plant to shut down” | Central Coast News KION
- “Stealing Sand: The Theft of California’s Coast” | The Inertia
- “Cemex mine reflects human hunger for sand” | Monterey County Weekly
- “Conservation groups to call for Coastal Commission to shut down Cemex sand mining plant | Santa Cruz Waves
- “Rally planned to shut down sand mine in Marina” | Central Coast News KION
- “Coastal Commission notifies Cemex it will seek to shut down Marina sand mining operation, force site restoration” | Monterey Herald
- “Cemex sand mine decision anticipated before years’ end” | Monterey County Weekly
- “Castles Made of Sand”| Santa Cruz Waves