Posted on January 31, 2024
New sands are on the way to beef up Brevard’s beaches.
A $47.6 million sand-pumping and placement project to restore beach and dunes along 11.5 miles from Pineda Causeway to South Spessard Holland Park is set to begin this week, according to a Brevard County press release late Friday.
The estimated 16-month Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies rehabilitation project is designed to restore significant beach and dune erosion caused by Hurricane Ian and Tropical Storm Nicole in 2022.
Who is paying?
The project is fully funded by federal emergency appropriations for damages during those two storms.
Who is managing these projects?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
How will it work?
The project will begin by pumping sand from shoals miles offshore to the beach at South Spessard Holland Park. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and contractor, Dutra Dredging, have mobilized a dredge vessel to Port Canaveral.
The dredge’s operation is weather-dependent, but is expected to begin sand transport the last week in January.
Some of the stockpiled sand will then be loaded into trucks at South Spessard Holland Park and driven to South Patrick Residents Association (SPRA) Park to replace losses in the mid-county area. This project will take about 16 months, including a break in the summer to allow for sea turtle nesting season.
The remainder of the Mid Reach and South Reach beach projects, between Indian Harbour Beach Club and Spessard Holland Park, will be finished between November 2024 and April 2025, according to the county’s website.
Will there be any beach closures?
Yes. Spessard Holland North will be closed at times, while Spessard Holland South will remain open. South Patrick Residents Association Park will be closed for most of that time during the project. Sand placement will begin between Pineda Causeway and Hightower Park in January and early February.
Later in the spring work will proceed southward to Indian Harbour Beach Club, at 2055 A1A in central Indian Harbour beach by April 30. Beach construction projects must stop by then, due to the onset of sea turtle nesting season.
What about the nearshore coquina reef?
The Mid Reach, which spans from Pineda Causeway south to Flug Avenue in Indialantic, had been left out of the larger federal sand-pumping projects from Cape Canaveral to Melbourne Beach over the past few decades, because the federal government protects the offshore coquina rock outcroppings there as “essential fish habitat.” The rock provides shelter for fish and substrate for Sabellariid, a rare marine worm.
How do they offset the reef destruction?
After a decade of studies and permitting, the federal government allowed a Mid Reach dredging project, which offsets about three acres of the reef that the project buries with a $10.6 million, 4.8-acre man-made reef. But some local activists have argued that the project buries too much of the reef — more than the permit allows — and that the artificial reef doesn’t make up for the buried natural reef.
What about the South Beaches?
South Beaches is the southern segment of Brevard’s shoreline and extends south from Spessard Holland Park to Sebastian Inlet. Brevard is rebuilding dune there to repair erosion from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
Work is complete north of Ponce Deleon Park and south of Bonsteel Park. Work is currently underway between 4495 State Road A1A and 5515 S.R. A1A. This area will be completed in mid-February, with the next work area to be from 5515 S.R. A1A to just south of Mark’s Landing beach access.
Where can I learn more?
- Brevard County’s website: www.brevardfl.gov/NaturalResources/Beaches/BeachManagementProgram
- Map of project progress: http://olsen-associates.com/brevardbeach/
- Satellite Beach’s website discusses the Mid Reach: satellitebeach.gov/residents/sustainable_satellite/beaches/beach_renourishment.php
- Call Brevard’s beach project hotline for updates: (321) 574-8855.