Beach Replenishment Is A Hot Potato!

As budgets for state and local municipalities become tighter and tighter, replenishing the sand on our famous beaches is becoming a political hot potato. For years, residents and the public have depended on state funding to pump or truck the sand back to the beach. This was not as easy as it might seem.

Although a 5-year-old could tell you where the beach is, apparently the state and county can’t agree, so underwater surveyors are brought in, hired by marine contractors from Utah, to determine where the sand is supposed to go. Wearing wetsuits, they secure survey markers in the surf line so that no sand goes where it is not supposed to be. The state only gets their sand and the county only gets theirs.

Other methods have been tried to eliminate the natural sand movement, called littoral action or longshore drift. In Jupiter, condo dwellers are considering spending their own money to truck in sand before their stairs to the beach collapse into the breaking waves.

Further south on Singer Island, residents have been trying for 15 years to get the County to install breakwaters in front of the beach to slow down big waves before they can carry the sand off.  The concept was projected to cost from $20 to $30 million for 1.18 miles of breakwaters, but last week the County killed the idea along with similar ones on Palm Beach, off Lantana, and in Jupiter, much to the delight of environmentalists and surfers.

Up on Jupiter Island where money is not an issue, the Town has included funding for this in the taxing structure, so they are taking bids to pump 1.2 million cubic feet of sand onto the beaches starting in November and continuing until May. As costly as real estate is on Jupiter Island, this will be very valuable sand.

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