Longshore current or longshore drift is a natural phenomenon that occurs along our beaches and causes the sand and other sediments to travel along the beach. This occurrence, coupled with changes in the size, shape and frequency of waves during the seasons, and big waves from storms at sea, causes the sand along Florida’s coast to be constantly in motion. It is neither coming nor going permanently, it’s just moving around as it has for eons.
But this is not good news if you live right on the beach in Jupiter, Juno or Singer Island.
When a hurricane washes away a beachfront home along the Eastern coast or when a river floods, Federal flood insurance covers this. Private insurers won’t touch the risk so it is laid off on the taxpayers. But beach erosion is another matter. Insurance doesn’t cover this.
Local taxpayers have had to foot the bill for years to truck in or pump in extra sand, year after year, when longshore currents take it somewhere else. The sand has moved either down the beach or offshore.
Singer Island has built stone barriers to protect the beaches from big waves, hoping this will stop the erosion. Jupiter collects the sand as it moves into the Inlet, then once a year pumps it out. When they do, the hole created allows one of our most popular game fish to congregate in it.
Now Jupiter has a problem with their only beachfront condo, Ocean Trail. Erosion. And with government money getting scarcer, residents may pay for the $3 million restoration job themselves.
Ocean Trail is in the 1.2 miles of beach scheduled for the regular once-every-eight-years beach renourishment in November. About 800,000 cubic yards of sand would be pumped in from off the coast to widen the beach as part of the $9 million project.
No matter what the outcome or who pays, you can be sure of one thing; beach sand will continue to move in and out, up and down, and all around as it has for millennia.