At the end of last year, you may have noticed a stockpile of sand growing between the Spessard Holland north and south parks. The sand was put there by a California dredging contractor who is working on a $3.1 million project to widen shorelines from Spessard Holland to Satellite Beach. Nearly a third of the cost will go towards the development of a man-made reef.
This is a huge milestone for homeowners in the Mid Reach region, an area that spans just under 8 miles, starting at the Pineda Causeway south and extending to Flug Avenue in Indialantic.
Even more sand is on its way to our Space Coast beaches. By May 2020, an estimated $53.6 million will go towards a combination of projects focused on bulking up our sandy beaches.
As part of these projects, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on three different projects in the area, working as a single construction contract. These three areas include the South Reach and Mid Reach, which will be sponsored by Brevard County. They will also be working on the Patrick Air Force Base on behalf of the U.S. Air Force. In addition, a fourth project sponsored by the county will further increase dunes size to offer greater storm protection to homes and businesses in the South Beaches.
Local Benefits of the Project
It’s not a cheap project but it’ll bring a lot of benefits to the area. The new sands will provide much-needed, and long-awaited, buffers from storm-driven seas. County officials have cited studies showing that for every dollar spent on beach renourishment, local properties see at least a triple increase in value. In addition, healthy beaches bring more tourists to Brevard beaches, which helps boost the local economy.
The Coquina Rock Outcroppings
The federal sand-pumping projects brought more sand to Cape Canaveral and Melbourne Beach, but Satellite Beach and Indian Harbour Beach were left out of these developments. The federal government is responsible for protecting the offshore coquina rock outcroppings in the area, which has been established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as an essential fish habitat. The rocks in this area offer shelter to fish and substrate for Sabellariid, a rare marine worm.
Years of studies and permitting led the federal government to conduct a dredging project, which balances the 3 acres of coquina rock, which the Brevard project will bury to make the 4.8-acre man-made reef.
Studies have shown that man-made reefs function well but there is still some pushback on the plan, for instance the Surfrider Foundation, a surfing and conservation group, opposes the project because it’ll bury the natural reef.
The following sand placement is scheduled to be completed by May 7, 2020:
- South Reach, including 3.8 miles of dredged up sand from Flug Avenue south through Spressard Holland Park, Indialantic and Melbourne Beach. This construction is completely covered by the federal government as part of response aid to Hurricane Irma.
- Patrick Air Force Base, including 375,000 cubic yards of sand to be placed along 3.7 miles of base shoreline. This work is funded by the Air Force.
- South Beaches, a total of 98,500 cubic yards of sand will be placed along the eroded dune face. The erosion was caused in large part by Hurricane Dorian. The sand will be placed between Spessard Holland Park and Sebastian Inlet State Park. Partial reimbursement will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and additional funding will come from the Tourism Development Tax.
You can find weekly construction updates here: https://www.brevardfl.gov/NaturalResources/Beaches