Posted on January 10, 2024
Bay County tourism officials say they’re keeping a close eye on this weather system. They say erosion is common during the winter storm season, but it’s not as much of a concern as some might think.
TDC leaders began the most recent Panama City Beach renourishment in September 2021. They spent about $30 million to rebuild what Hurricanes Michael and Sally washed away.
They completed the renourishment project at St. Andrews State Park about 6 weeks ago. The wider the beaches the best defense against erosion, especially during the winter storm season.
“We do know there will be some erosion there and we will be continuing to monitor that just to make sure again that all the sand stays in the system,” said Tourist Development Council President and CEO Dan Rowe.
While erosion is a concern, Rowe says storms like these usually do not have a long-term effect on the shoreline.
“We’re always concerned about the storms because, again, sand is something that is highly erodible. Generally, it usually stays within the system, and we don’t see that much erosion.”
Rowe went on to explain that the erosion essentially takes care of itself.
“The sand may not be on the dry part of the beach. It may just be right offshore or in the wave area, right in the sandbars. A lot of times when the sand erodes off the beach, it adds to the sandbars. What that means is when other onshore flows, those tides will build back and take the sand that’s in the sandbars and put it back on the beach.”
Tourism officials are doing some prep work in advance of the storms. They’re removing trash cans and other objects that could be picked up by the wind or a tornado. The TDC pays for the renourishment project and overall beach maintenance with bed tax collections.
“When we need to do a renourishment, we have the resources at hand to be able to do it,” said Rowe. “The local residents don’t have to pay anything for any of the beach renourishment that we’re doing. Same goes for beach maintenance when we’re picking up trash and grooming the beach. All of that is paid for by the tourist development tax.”
The TDC plans on planting sea oats on the sand dunes to keep the sand in place and further protect the coastline.