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Dune restoration project underway on South Hutchinson Island following storm

Posted on November 12, 2020

Martin County leaders work to reinforce dunes at Bathtub Reef Beach following Tropical Storm Eta


Martin County crews are reinforcing the dunes on South Hutchinson Island that partially eroded during the height of Tropical Storm Eta on the Treasure Coast.

The dune restoration project at Bathtub Reef Beach began Monday morning, after originally being scheduled to begin next year. Work began at the north end of the beach on Monday.

County leaders say the beach, pavilion and parking areas will be closed indefinitely “until shoreline conditions improve,” but they have not provided a specific timetable.

“We got to a point where the dune was getting extremely thin,” said Kathy Fitzpatrick, the coastal engineer of Martin County. “We depend on the dune to protect McArthur Boulevard and access to it and so what we are doing here today is trucking sand in to try to beef up that dune and make sure we can secure that road.

“It got close last night and we didn’t want to take any chances so we started working first thing this morning.”

Fitzpatrick says more than 20 truckloads of sand were brought in. Right now crews are assessing how much sand to use to reinforce the dunes right now and how much sand to stockpile for a later time.

The timeline of the dune restoration project is entirely weather-dependent.

“Bathtub Beach is an extremely narrow beach and it doesn’t have the resilience wider beaches do. So if we get 10 or 15 feet of erosion on Bathtub Beach. it is much more impactful than if we get 10 or 15 feet of erosion on something like Stuart Beach, so we have to be ready to react quickly,” said Fitzpatrick.

You can click here for more information about Martin County’s beaches. You can also call the county for beach updates at 772-320-3112.

Source: wpbf

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