Navarre Beach erosion hinders water rescues

2016 Navarre Beach Renourishment Project and the 2006 Navarre Beach Restoration Project. And updates/issues about beach storm surge sand erosion, dune vegetation, sea turtle/shorebird nesting and other.
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Kayak Dave
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from Dredging and nwfdailynews


Erosion on Navarre Beach hampered fire department rescue efforts last week when rip currents were pulling unwary swimmers far off shore.

On Thursday, as fire fighters rushed to get to four people who had been pulled an estimated 100 yards from land, they struggled to find a location from which they could launch the department’s motorized water craft.

“The erosion is pretty bad. It’s making it difficult to put the jet ski in,” Navarre Beach Fire Department Lt. Grant Winterberry said Monday. “We try to put in close to the call, but now we have to find areas several hundred feet from where the incident is.”

Rescue team members innovated using a borrowed kayak to avert tragedy, Winterberry said, but their struggles pointed out a very real problem.

Five years after Santa Rosa County officials put down 3.4 million cubic yards of sand to add 100 feet of gleaming white beach to a 3.7 mile vacation haven, erosion has gnawed the coastline back to dunes constructed to protect beach structures.

There’s not enough flat beach to allow the truck and trailer carrying the fire department’s personal watercraft to maneuver along the water, and rescue teams risk a 4- to 5-foot drop in places.

Santa Rosa County Engineer Roger Blaylock said the county is well aware of the erosion issue and has begun making preparations for a new beach renourishment project.

“When we did the original project (completed in late 2006) we fully anticipated this would be an ongoing situation with periodic renourishing,” Blaylock said.

Blaylock said the life expectancy of the beach built with sand dredged from the Gulf of Mexico in 2006 was seven or eight years, and that prediction seems to be pretty close to accurate.

He said county commissioners have agreed to begin moving the process of rebuilding Navarre Beach forward in hopes of starting work “in the 2013-14 timeframe.”

The cost of the next project has not been determined and neither has the amount of beach that will receive new sand, Blaylock said.

The cost in 2006 was estimated at just more than $18 million.

The good news, he said, is that the dunes on Navarre Beach, which were flattened by Hurricane Ivan and other tropical storms, have remained intact since the 2006-07 renourishment, and won’t have to be rebuilt.

Also, a great deal of the sand that has left the beach remains in Gulf of Mexico water just off shore, Blalock said.

“When we renourish they figure it will take less than half of what was pumped the first time,” he said. ... oject-usa/
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Great info. Thanks for posting!
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