Keeping a Watchful
Eye on Our Beaches
Even before Hurricane
Irma arrived last month, the Broward County’s Environmental Planning and
Community Resilience Division was conducting a pre-storm beach survey, so that
storm-related impacts could be quickly assessed post-storm in coordination with
the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Staff mobilized the day
after the storm to report on preliminary sand losses, noting significant areas
of sand loss and acute erosion in some areas, while also reporting on the
effectiveness of recently constructed beach dunes in helping keep sand on the
beaches. Broward County submitted a request to the USACE for rehabilitation
assistance for the county’s federal shore protection project on September 13,
2017. Beach conditions, including sand loss and dune performance, have been
documented with photos. The County plans to perform a detailed post-storm beach
survey that will support the county’s request for federal assistance to restore
the Segment II and Segment III beaches to pre-storm conditions.
Segment II Renourishment Project Resumes
On November 1st, 2016, the Segmen
t II Beach Renourishment Project will recommence. After a summer hiatus, to protect nesting sea turtles, construction crews will begin mobilization at the Sunrise Boulevard
beach access point. Approximately 1 mile of beach remains to be completed, extending from Hugh Taylor Birch State Park to Terramar Street, in Fort Lauderdale. Sand deliveries to the beach will begin November 3rd, at which time trucks will be entering the beach at Sunrise Boulevard and delivering to Terramar Street. Temporary closures will be necessary between these two points, as the project progresses, perhaps extending to 18th Street at later stages. The construction schedule allows for up to 75 days of work, but it is expected that less time will be needed.
There are 24 miles of sandy beaches along the Broward County coastline. The beaches of Broward attract millions of visitors each year and are also enjoyed by residents of the entire South Florida region. Not only do beaches support tourism and the local economy, they also help protect property and provide critical habitat for sea turtles, shore birds, and other marine wildlife. The long-term management of the County's shoreline involves shore protection projects, dune enhancements, and regional sediment management with extensive partnerships with State and Federal agencies.
What is Beach Renourishment
The natural forces of coastal storms, winds, tides, waves, and currents constantly move sand along our coast. Some of the sand is carried along the shore and redeposited further down the beach, or it is carried offshore onto sandbars where it is stored temporarily. Sometimes, major weather events and natural forces cause the sand moving along the shoreline to leave the system entirely. This causes the shoreline to recede, or move further landward. Beach erosion refers to this loss in beach width and sand volume and the advancement of the shoreline landward. Waves and storm surge can cause significant destruction to an eroded beach resulting in the loss of property, wildlife habitat, and recreational area.
Beach renourishment is a means of shore protection designed to retain and rebuild natural systems, such as beaches, while reducing or preventing the consequences of beach erosion. Beach renourishment is the only shore protection method that adds sand to the coastal system and is the preferred method for shore protection today.
During construction of a beach renourishment project, beach-quality sand from either an offshore borrow area or upland sand mine is placed along the coastline to restore an eroding beach. Ultimately, a beach nourishment project widens a beach and advances the shoreline seaward. Dunes may also be constructed or restored in order to protect the shore by acting as naturally protective buffers. Like any other major infrastructure, restored beaches must be maintained to stay healthy. Think of Broward County’s beaches like a road, requiring periodic resurfacing but with sand. To ensure that the nourished beach continues to provide protection from the effects of hurricanes and coastal storms, the project must be supplemented with additional quantities of sand, called beach maintenance or renourishment, as needed.
Broward County has successfully managed its beaches for more than 50 years, improving its beach renourishment program with each restoration event. Since 1970, large and moderate scale beach renourishment projects have commonly been used as a means of restoring and maintaining eroded areas of Broward County's shoreline.
The current renourishment project is focused on Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Pompano, and Fort Lauderdale Beaches. The purpose of the Segment II Beach Renourishment Project is to reconstruct areas of eroded beach and increase storm protection to the upland development along portions of the shoreline. The project will place approximately 750,000 cubic yards of sand through three access points (one in each city) along 4.9 miles of shoreline between Hillsboro Inlet and Broward County's Port Everglades. The County has received permits for the project from both State and Federal resource agencies and the Project Participation Agreement (PPA) with the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The PPA is a legally binding agreement between the Federal Government and the County and describes the project and responsibilities of each in cost-sharing and execution of work.
In April of 2005, restoration work began on 6.2 miles of Broward County’s shoreline from the John U. Lloyd Beach State Park (JUL), just south of Port Everglades, to the Broward County line in Hallandale Beach. The $23.8 million undertaking, known as the Broward County Segment III Shore Protection Project, involved the placement of approximately 1.7 million cubic yards of sand on South Broward’s eroded beaches. Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, and Dania Beach shorelines were impacted by the renourishment project, which was in the planning stages for a number of years. The beach was widened, depending on previous width, up to 200 feet. The project was completed in February 2006. Work on the northern end of the project at JUL was not scheduled to begin until November of 2005 because of sea turtle nesting season. Three structures were constructed at the northern end of the park to “lock-in” the sand along the County's southern shoreline. Barring unexpected weather or nautical conditions, the new beach should have a life span of at least ten years.
This project is the first beach restoration effort in Broward County in more than a decade. Great Lakes Dock and Dredge Company, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, was the prime contractor for the project. The company has restored more eroded recreational and commercial waterfronts in the United States than any other company in its field. The project was sponsored and administered by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, with funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Florida Department of Environmental Projection, and the municipalities Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, and Dania Beach.
Pertinent facts and figures about the project:
- Total paid quantity of sand placed: 1,837,600 cubic yards (cy).
- 205,200 cy was placed on Hallandale Beach.
- 999,700 cy was placed on Hollywood Beach.
- 87,700 cy was placed on Dania Beach.
- 545,000 cy was placed on JUL.
- 188,000 cy of the sand was paid for 100 percent by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for repair of erosion caused by hurricanes in 2004.
- The costs for 1,104,600 cy was shared by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Florida, Broward County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, and Dania Beach.
- The costs for the 545,000 cy of sand at JUL were shared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Florida.
- At the north end of JUL, a rock spur was constructed from the south jetty of Broward County's Port Everglades and two rock T-Head groins were built just south of the jetty.