Posted on January 7, 2021
First came the new name. Then there was the new sign. Now comes lots of new sand.
Patrick Space Force Base is getting its share of a $48 million beach renourishment project, which will spread the equivalent of more than 22,000 of truck loads worth of sand onto the base from shoals five miles off of Cape Canaveral.
“Beach parking areas will be closed on PSFB where construction activity is taking place and will reopen once it is safe for the public to utilize the area,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials said via email Tuesday. “The contractor has safety observers and fencing to ensure the public is excluded from the construction areas.”
The contractor is The Dutra Group. Their contract includes putting sand on the base, and on the county’s so-called Mid Reach and South Reach areas. The Patrick section is paid for with Department of Defense funds. Brevard’s Mid Reach and South Reach are cost shared with the federal government and the county.
Patrick’s is just one slice of the larger beach pie that’s ramping up to fatten up the Space Coast in 2021. Brevard’s four beach and dune restoration projects are either planned or underway, bringing new sand to beaches between Cocoa Beach and Sebastian Inlet, and paid for mostly with federal money.
Some have worried that the new sand won’t match the natural beach, which can harm sea turtle nesting. But federal, state and local officials assure the new beach sand must meet permitting requirements that ensure the sand is compatible. The beach may initially look a different color, shape and feel different now, they say, but soon it weathers to resemble the sands all have grown used to, bringing broader storm protection and habitat for endangered sea turtles and other threatened wildlife.
The work at Patrick, which began in early December, is expected to continue until mid to late January.
The project pumps about 450,000 cubic yards of sand on Patrick beaches, with 1.9 million cubic yards being placed over the length of the larger project. The sand is dredged from an offshore area called the Canaveral Shoals II, about five miles east of Cape Canaveral.
It’s all part of the larger project in Brevard that started in November 2019. The county’s so-called Mid Reach area — Satellite and Indian Harbour Beach — was completed in April 2020. Work on Brevard South Reach and Patrick Space Force Base was suspended in May 2020 for turtle season. Sand placement on will continue on Brevard’s South Reach until middle of spring.
Once work is almost done at Patrick, the Corps and their contractor will begin widening Brevard County’s South Reach project area, which spans from Flug Avenue Indialantic, southward 3.8 miles to Spessard Holland Park.
The estimated $15 million project is expected to begin in mid to late January and be completed by April 30, county officials say, when beach widening projects must stop to prevent disrupting endangered and threatened sea turtle nesting.
A separate emergency dune restoration project is underway in the South Beaches, between Spessard Holland Park South and Sebastian Inlet State Park. Sand placement is only happening in spots that had significant erosion in September 2020. Work is currently underway in the 6000 to 8000 blocks of State Road A1A and will proceed further northward.
The project is expected to be finished by late March, county officials say. Sea oats will be installed along most of the South Beaches dunes during the months of March and April.
The Corps plans a beach nourishment early this year on the southern portion of the Brevard County North Reach project area. The entire North Reach area runs from Cheri Down Park in Cape Canaveral and Surf Road in Cocoa Beach and between 3rd Street North in Cocoa Beach and the northern limit of Patrick Space Force Base.
Work on this project estimated at $11 million — 100% paid for with federal funds — will take place between North Second Street Cocoa Beach and Patrick Air Force Base. The county has yet to set a detailed schedule for the project but but is expected to take place between March 1 and April 30, according to the county’s website.
In September 2019, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management partnered with the Corps, Brevard County, and the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing to replenish portions of the shoreline in Brevard. BOEM, the county and the Corps signed two separate agreements for the use of up to 1.9 million cubic yards of sand from federal waters to construct three Brevard project segments located at Mid-Reach, South-Reach and at Patrick.