LOS ANGELES — Owing to coastal erosion and shrinking beaches, the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors has stopped providing pre-filled sandbags to residents seeking to build barriers against storms.

What You Need To Know

  • The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors will no longer provide pre-filled sandbags at beach-area pickup locations

  • Beaches and Harbors cites coastal erosion as its reason, preferring to keep sand at its beaches

  • County residents can still pick up sandbags at any LA County Fire station

  • Authorities suggest that people who might find themselves in need of sandbags collect bags ahead of expected storm fronts.

That won’t be a problem to the larger Los Angeles County community, however, the LA County Department of Public Works has confirmed that sandbags will be available at all county fire stations, and that locations for sandbag pickup across the county (including cities within the county) can be found on the public works website.

“We’ve traditionally provided pre-filled sandbags as a way to discourage people from bringing their own bags and filling them,” said Beaches and Harbors spokesperson Nicole Mooradian. “Nevertheless, we’ve decided this year that we can no longer afford to give our beach sand away due to coastal erosion and climate change — we need to keep the sand on LA County’s iconic beaches.”

The county has seen substantial coastline erosion over the last 10 years — the most striking example, Mooradian said, has been the disappearance of a service road at Nicholas Canyon Beach. Indeed, maps of the area continue to indicate a road, while satellite photos accessible through Google Maps show that the road no longer exists. 

Southern California’s storm season typically runs from October 15 to April 15. Storm swells during the season can impact beachfront communities, like Malibu, while rain runoff can take advantage of communities that lost natural run-off barriers in fires. Sandbags thus give homeowners and business owners an opportunity to armor their property against flooding.

The county will continue to have coastal communities covered, however, Steven Frasher, spokesperson for LA County’s Department of Public Works, said that the county prepares for storm season year-round, and that beaches and harbor’s ending participation will not disrupt their efforts.

“It’s something we’re used to every season. We have adequate supplies, and we’re well-prepared for the storm season,” Frasher said. “We encourage the public that, if you’re in area that needs sandbags, the time to get them is in advance of a storm and to be prepared, rather than to scramble as the storm front is coming.”

Sandbag pickup locations can be found at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works website.