Construction began on beach restoration projects in Brevard and Martin counties following the devastating 2004 hurricane season. The two restoration projects will restore coastal habitat, recreational beachfront and protect upland homes and businesses.
“Months after the hurricanes struck our shores, Floridians continue to demonstrate their resilience by rebuilding and restoring their homes, businesses and communities,” said Secretary Castille. “Returning sand to our beaches provides an important shield from extreme weather conditions for our coastal communities and additional habitat for wildlife.”
The Brevard County project will widen northern county beaches from Cape Canaveral through Cocoa Beach to Patrick Air Force Base, and southern Brevard County beaches from Flug Avenue in Indialantic to Melbourne Beach, covering more than 10 miles. When complete, the beach will be nourished with 1.6 million cubic yards of sand, the equivalent of more than 100,000 truck loads, providing an average of 100 additional feet of sandy beach. Completion of the project is expected by late spring.
Construction began last week on the Martin County Shore Protection Nourishment Project to restore coastal habitat, recreational beachfront and protect upland homes and businesses on the shoreline, which endured the landfall of two hurricanes last September. The project will widen the beach from the Jensen Beach County Park to Stuart Beach County Park, covering more than four miles. When complete, the beach will be nourished with 876,000 cubic yards of sand, the equivalent of 54,750 truck loads, providing an average of 90 additional linear feet of sandy beach. Completion of the project is expected late spring.
Following last year’s hurricanes, teams of DEP engineers and environmental managers assessed erosion along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to prepare a hurricane recovery plan. Engineers completed close to 1,000 hours of aerial and ground assessments across 25 coastal counties, shooting 76 hours of video and more than 5,200 still photographs to document hurricane damage to the state’s famed beaches, sandy dunes and coastal communities.
Florida’s beach and dune system acts as the first line of defense during hurricane season. Wide sandy beaches reduce the impacts of storm surge and provide wave attenuation. Beach nourishment can prepare the coastline to better withstand the forces of hurricanes while providing recreational and economic benefits. Florida’s 825 miles of world-renowned beaches draw millions of tourists to the state every year, pumping billions of dollars into Florida’s economy. A 2003 Florida Atlantic University study found that for every dollar invested in beach restoration, the State receives a $6 – $8 economic return in state taxes from tourists.
Last December, Governor Bush and the Legislature committed more than $68 million to restore Florida’s beaches from the impacts of four major hurricanes on our coasts. The Governor has proposed another $72 million in next year’s budget to continue the work. In addition to special appropriation funding, Brevard County’s restoration project is receiving a near $1.5 million match from the State’s hurricane recovery funds.
The Martin County Shore Protection Nourishment Project is funded through a State, federal and local partnership, receiving nearly $1.5 million in matching funds from the State’s beach management funding assistance program. State, federal and local governments invest millions of dollars annually to restore and maintain critically eroded beaches along Florida’s coastline. Over the last three years, the Florida Legislature has appropriated nearly $150 million to restore Florida’s shoreline. To date, more than 170 miles of beach has been restored and maintained through the State program.
For more information, visit www.dep.state.fl.us
(Source: Florida DEP, The Post, Volume 5, Issue 12 March 25, 2005)