Space Coast Progressive Alliance

The Future of the American Experiment is in Your Hands
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 19:05

Space Coast Reef

Written by  Compiled by Team SCPA

Posted July 28, 2015
Environment, Florida Politics, Coastal Beaches and the Satellite Beach Reef
The healthy reef along Satellite Beach, recognized as 'the premier marine community in the area,' is about to be (partially) buried in dredged beach sand for the purpose -- without saying so -- of protecting buildings that were built way too close to the beach. In the past few years, the Surfrider Foundation, Anglers For Conservation, and Pure Ocean TV and others worked hard to save this living reef, which is a vital living marine resource. But Florida is not known for protecting its natural resources.
-- SCPA Editor


1. The Space Coast Reef
by Mike Daniel, Chair, Sebastian Inlet Chapter, Surfrider Foundation

2. Reef videos
by James Smith, PureOceanTV

3. Regarding the living reef along Satellite Beach
by Spence Guerin, Space Coast Progressive Alliance

4. Sand Transfer Station needed at Port Canaveral
by Phil Stasik, President, Space Coast Progressive Alliance

5. Links

Reuters Investigates / Water's Edge
[SCPA Ed. note: Must read this extensive report!]

Brevard pushes beach renourishment, emergency center
Florida Today, by Dave Berman, February 25, 2015

Beach Renourishment in Martin County

Beach Nourishment in Broward County

Palm Beach Midtown Beach renourishment project continues
WPTV West Palm Beach, by James Wieland, April 10, 2015

Sea turtles killed by beach renourishment project on Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, by John Dzenitis, May 6, 2015

Venice Beach renourishment begins
Herald-Tribune, by Christi Womack, March 9, 2015

Beach Renourishment Basics, Pros + Cons
by Don Barber, Geology Dept, Bryn Mawr College

Geological Importance of Sand Compatibility for Sustaining Beaches
(Economically Wasteful & Environmentally Damaging Beach 'Renourishment')
by Harold R. Wanless, Katherine L. Maier and Donald F. McNeill, Dept. of Geological Sciences, University of Miami



by Mike Daniel, Chair, Sebastian Inlet Chapter, Surfrider Foundation

The Space Coast Reef is the 'premier marine community in the area,' according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (From EPA comment letter in the dredge project’s thousands of pages of paperwork).

National Marine Fisheries Service nearly blocked the Mid Reach beach 'renourishment' project, because the reef is classified by NMFS as an Essential Fish Habitat and a Habitat Area of Particular Concern. The reef certainly deserves the attention of all of Brevard’s conservation community. (Mid Reach beach restoration project is from Pineda Causeway south to Flug Avenue in Indialantic:

Regarding Mid Reach -- Satellite Beach and Indian Harbour are not tourist towns. So take away the argument that tourism requires this beach to be renourished with dredge fill. The Mean High Water line in the area is already moving seaward, which means the beach is getting wider on its own without any money from the taxpayers. Why? Probably due to the fact that there are huge dredge fill projects on either side, to the north and south of Mid Reach, which act as 'feeder beaches' due to natural sediment transportation by littoral currents. What’s left that requires more beach sand? How about subsidize a few structures that were built way too close to the edge? We should shine a light on that….

It’s pretty disgusting to watch the Indian River Lagoon decline while our county and state government spend our tax dollars, and beg for federal $$s, to play sandcastle with the Atlantic Ocean. If I was a betting man, my money would be on the ocean in this fight.

Dredge-and-fill artificial beaches are thoroughly institutionalized in Florida. Florida Statute, Chapter 161, Beach and Shore Preservation, put it into law. (See: Brevard County officials are somewhat bound to pursue this nonsense. And of course the North Reach (Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral) is mandated and 100% federally funded because of the Applegate vs the US lawsuit which established that the Port is responsible for their erosion.

All of Florida’s nearshore reefs, from Brevard to Miami, are under assault by our own Florida DEP. Dredge-and-fill beach ‘projects' creating unnaturally wide beaches are proposed just about everywhere. 'Mitigation' is DEP’s answer, but the replacement reefs don’t work (plenty of documentation on this, which DEP ignores). The DEP even produced a cheerleader document for all of this, which is set up to provide newspaper reporters with a menu of copy-and-paste blurbs which imply that the whole economy of Florida will collapse if not for continued dredge and fill. I, on the other hand, feel that Florida’s natural beaches were the crown jewel of our natural resources. Artificial beaches aren’t quite the same….

The 4th Annual Ocean-Reef-Beach Festival is coming up on December 5th, presented by Surfrider Foundation, Anglers For Conservation, and Pure Ocean TV. We’ve tried to bring together all the beach users to celebrate the ocean lifestyle. And of course teach attendees a lot about conservation. We had 4,000-5,000 people last year, hopefully most of them learned something about the reef. If people want to speak directly to the scientists who research our nearshore reefs, this is a great chance: December 5, 2015.

• Raise awareness of the Space Coast Reef

• Emphasize the juvenile green turtles who LIVE on this reef. They’re not just visiting.

• Protect our south beaches from dredge and fill (no large projects are proposed there now, but keeping these beaches as natural as possible is critical to their continued functionality as one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting habitats: the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.)

• Work at state and federal level to implement rational Sea Level Rise adaptation policies -- rather than dredge and fill band-aids. Since we’re not going to move these policies all at once, I’ve proposed a first step of making sure that all dredge projects include a property acquisition component, i.e., buy and remove the 'most threatened' development.


Strategic acquisition is not as far-fetched as you might think. The best opportunities are in post-storm recovery; there are existing programs such as FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program  (FEMA states that while purchase is not the only form of mitigation, it is the most permanent form). HMGP, like their Repetitively Flooded Properties Program, only comes into play when there is a disaster declaration.

We should also take the position that every dredge project contains an acquisition component. The tourism argument is very weak, these projects are really about subsidizing irresponsible coastal development. But the dredge lobby has (wisely) chosen to mask their efforts in a tourism context. Their manufactured benefit/cost ratios assume drastically reduced tourism without dredging. There is an assumption that there will be 'no beach,' which is patently untrue in most cases. If everyone can agree that some of these developed properties are 'threatened,' we should agree that funding an acquisition within each project makes sense in the long-term.

And right here in Brevard there are significant opportunities to preserve undeveloped coastal strand (one of the rarest types of properties in Florida). The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge has a list of infill properties owned by willing sellers. Securing funding for these acquisitions will both prevent further coastal development and ensure the continued functionality of one of the most productive sea turtle nesting habitats in the world. Sea turtles prefer the steep, narrow, dark, high energy beaches of south Brevard, and we need to ‘’keep these beaches natural’’ (quote Doc Earhart).


’Beach management' in Florida (and nationally) is driven by a powerful coalition of coastal property interests, tourism proponents, dredge companies, and coastal engineering firms. The latter two make loads of $$$$s off all of this, and of course the federal funding portion flows through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps no doubt loves all this funding as well. For instance, after Hurricane Sandy, the Corps received the equivalent of almost an entire year's operating budget just for beach dredging projects in NY/NJ (and surprisingly, in that ~$63B Sandy Relief Bill, there was $500M for dredging outside of NY/NJ -- $40M of that came to Brevard).

When coastal development in Florida started to really get out of control in the 1960s and ‘70s, structures started to get threatened because they’d been placed right in the dune, often replacing the dune. The structures definitely began to interfere with the natural function of the dunes, which serve as sand 'banks' for the beach. Storm events pull sand down from dune to naturally add to beach. Then the dune is rebuilt over time by wind-blown sand. Structures built in the dune or removing the dune prevent this natural cycle; or at very least everyone gets very alarmed when dune is 'attacked' by storm waves.
Armoring the structures (sea walls) was the first response. But sea walls completely cut off supply of 'new' sand from dune, and sea walls exacerbate erosion by increasing turbulence and scouring when waves wash against them. So, armoring is the very worst thing that can ever happen to a beach.
Jetties are also considered a 'solution' but they only hold sand within their boundaries. Sand is robbed from natural littoral flow, resulting in worse erosion downdrift.

So, engineers came up with 'beach renourishment' -- a marketing term. While all of us who are concerned about our coasts agree that dredge-and-fill 'nourishment' is preferable to armoring or jetties, the practice has gotten out of control. The money is too big, the illusion of storm protection is too great, and it has done nothing to rein in irrational coastal development. In fact it has only fostered the latter.
Now we have a situation where artificially wide beaches are proposed in many areas of Florida which feature natural nearshore reefs which will be buried by these 'renourishment' projects -- all in the name of protecting structures (houses, hotels, condos) which were built right on the edge of the beach, in the highest-risk environment possible. Beach fill is just one of the perverse subsidies we provide to support this development. We also subsidize their property and flood insurance.
At a time when we should be seriously reassessing coastal development in light of SLR, our government is spending money to encourage more. Every $ wasted on temporary fill could be used for more permanent adaptation solutions. Even proponents admit that none of these fill projects last very long -– but they don’t often talk about how this allows them to come back for more $s in a few years. Nice work if you can get it…
Here in Florida, we have many worthwhile conservation projects which are starved for funding. Everglades and Indian River Lagoon restoration come to mind quickly. Our government should 'get their head out of the sand' and prioritize real conservation over temporary, repetitive taxpayer bail-outs for coastal development interests.
While not everyone will agree with my assessment, I always look for common ground. At the very least, we should be able to agree that continued coastal development does not make sense at this point. Unless you believe that it’s not really at risk -- in which case there should be no need for dredge-and-fill beach 'projects.'



with Mike Daniel and Rodney Smith

Videos by James Smith, PureOceanTV



by Spence Guerin, Space Coast Progressive Alliance

U.S. EPA says the reef along Satellite Beach is the 'premier marine community in the area.'

Another round of millions of dollars' worth of beach sand 'renourishment' is coming to Brevard beaches. This time, imported beach sand will bury at least a part of the living reef at Satellite Beach, which the EPA has identified as the 'premier marine community in the area.'

In the past few years, the Surfrider Foundation, Anglers For Conservation, and Pure Ocean TV and others have done what they could do to save this living reef, which is a vital living marine resource.

Mitigation is supposed to establish a man-made reef just offshore, in return for killing a large part of the living reef at water's edge. Such mitigation attempts exist mostly as an 'escape clause' since most such mitigation efforts fail.

So, here we are. Are we about to sit back and watch a living reef be buried at Satellite Beach? (Hope not.)
Are any public officials in our area doing what they can to save this reef from burial? Has the state and county done ALL IT CAN to SAVE the Satellite Beach living reef from burial? (I doubt it.)
Do The People know how precious is that reef? (Some do, but probably not enough.)
A living reef like this along Satellite Beach is the anchor for marine life… 'World class fishing along this beach' because of that reef, in the words of Rodney Smith, long time local fishing author and guide and advocate. At a time when pollution and global warming is killing reefs around the world, and few living reefs remain on Florida's lower southeast coast -- thanks to seldom-mentioned pollution -- we still have a remarkable living reef at the water's edge along Satellite Beach area.

I see no evidence that we have taken serious steps to rebuild dunes along the reef beach, with accompanying native plants that are needed to stabilize and secure the dunes. (We've yet to be serious, politically, about saving the Indian River Lagoon, also. Note the lukewarm rescue efforts in the recent legislative session. Almost nothing for the lagoon. Really pitiful.)
Shouldn't we do all that can be done to build protective dunes to protect protect the living reef -- and at the same time rescue the troublesome condos and hotels that were built where they shouldn't be? Wouldn't YOU like to see intensive full-speed-ahead dune building, with concentrated planting of protective Florida native plants, in hopes that the reef can be spared burial? Have we exhausted beach dune-building in that vicinity, to AVOID killing this living reef?

In the interest of full disclosure, I must report that my wife works in the Florida native plants industry. If she didn't, I might not even know what a 'native plant' is, and I might not know that if there is a sustainable Florida, native plants will be at the core.

Beach erosion is not going away. It's never ending along the beaches, and always will be. How many millions have been spent on replenishing Brevard's beaches in the past twenty years?

REUTERS news service has produced a superb in-depth report on this topic. In the USA, 496 million cubic yards of sand have been dumped on the nation's coast line since 1990, at a cost of about $7 billion. Florida has received more than a quarter of that beach sand, 135.7 million cubic yards.

See REUTERS report, scroll down to True Grit in Part 2: Against the tide.

Surely, we would agree that the practice of building houses, condos and hotels on the dune line above the beach is at the heart of the problem and is not sustainable. If those buildings were not there, we would not be dumping billions of dollars on the beach to be washed away. We can't reverse what has already been done, but we should not allow that unsustainable practice to continue.
We should NOT compound the mistakes of the past, and bury living reefs. Let's not bury Brevard's ONLY living reef right at the water's edge, for sake of beach replenishment that will most certainly wash away in the next hurricane.
A better coastal development plan, by the way, is like Oregon: basically, no construction on ocean side of the coastal highway. In parts of the North Carolina coast, houses can no longer be built along the beach and those remaining are not rescued, and some are forced to move off the beach. What about Florida?
The LARGER FIGHT, says Mike Daniel, Surfrider Foundation, is to try to ‘Get elected officials to stop wasting tax dollars for dredge-and-fill on our beaches, to protect structures that were built where they shouldn't be. It’s a taxpayer bailout for risky investments. Real SLR adaptation will involve moving property tax base away from a rising sea.’

Well said, Mike.


By Phil Stasik, President, Space Coast Progressive Alliance

A sand transfer station is a permanent dredging pump that is built on the upstream side of an inlet, that relocates sand in a pipe that runs below the inlet to the downstream side.

I’ve watched these work very effectively at both the Lake Worth Inlet and the Boynton Inlet. We should have one at Port Canaveral, but the folks who live in Brevard do not have a fraction of the money and influence that those living in Palm Beach have. As a result, the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station gets to collect all of the sand that should be flowing south.




Part 1: A Reuters analysis finds that flooding is increasing along much of the nation’s coastline, forcing many communities into costly, controversial struggles with a relentless foe.

Part 2: Despite laws intended to curb development where rising seas pose the greatest threat, Reuters finds that government is happy to help the nation indulge in its passion for beachfront living.

Part 3: Hurricane Ike sent a clear message that the people and vital energy industry of one of America's largest urban areas needed protection from rising seas. Six years later, the only plan with any traction is a professor's Dutch-inspired idea - and it has scant political backing.

Part 4: The government recognizes the reality of rising sea levels and their damaging effects. But having done so, it still faces tough choices about what areas to defend and what areas to cede to the sea.

Part 5: In the Indonesian capital, sinking land is an even bigger threat than rising seas. Jakarta has no option but to spend tens of billions of dollars on reinforcing its ramshackle defenses.


Brevard pushes beach renourishment, emergency center

Florida Today, by Dave Berman, February 25, 2015

Four Brevard County officials will be in Washington on Wednesday, looking to get congressional support for beach restoration efforts along the Space Coast and for a new county Emergency Operations Center.

They also will be there to get a national award for a previous beach restoration project. That award from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association — first announced in May — recognizes the Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral area for being one of four U.S. beaches named a 2014 "Best Restored Beach."

Brevard County Commission Vice Chair Jim Barfield, whose District 2 includes the Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral areas, will be among the county officials meeting with congressional staffers about the importance of beach restoration and a new Emergency Operations Center to the Space Coast. ...


Beach Renourishment

Martin County

Florida is the only continental state surrounded by coastal seas and oceans; here, you are never more than 75 miles from saltwater.

In Martin County, our waters define our quality of life - particularly our beautiful, uncrowded beachfront, which attracts visitors from across the country and around the world. We are fortunate to have nearly 50% of this shoreline as public land, including sixteen beach parks. But our beach is more than a playground: It is also an environmental treasure and a tremendous economic asset for tourism-related business along the Treasure Coast.

While nearly all beaches are naturally prone to gradual erosion, adverse weather conditions and severe storms - such as hurricanes - can cause significant and sudden changes in the shoreline. Ongoing maintenance is required to protect our beachfront's accessibility, natural beauty, economic viability and ecological vitality. …,388123&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL


Beach Nourishment

Broward County

There are 24 miles of sandy beaches along the Broward County coastline. the beaches of Broward County attract millions of visitors each year and are enjoyed by residents of the entire South Florida region and beyond. Not only do beaches support tourism and the local economy, they also help protect upland property while providing critical habitat to sea turtles, shore birds, and other marine wildlife. The long-term management of the County's shoreline involves shore protection projects, dune enhancements, and regional sediment management, with extensive partnership with State and Federal agencies.

What is Beach Nourishment
The natural forces of coastal storms, wind, tides, waves, and currents constantly move sand along our coast. Some of the sand is carried along the shore and redeposited further down the beach, or it is carried offshore into sandbars where it is stored temporarily.  Sometimes, major weather events and these natural forces cause the sand moving along the shoreline to leave the system entirely. This causes the shoreline to recede, or move further landward. Beach erosion refers to this loss in beach width and sand volume and the advancement of the shoreline landward. Waves and storm surge can cause significant destruction to an eroded beach resulting in the loss of property, wildlife habitat, and recreational area. …


Palm Beach Midtown Beach renourishment project continues

WPTV West Palm Beach, by James Wieland, April 10, 2015

At Australian Avenue in Palm Beach bulldozers are spreading new sand around and expanding the beach. The project has been going on since January and it is almost complete.

A mix of sand and water comes gushing out of a pipe onto the beach.

The sand comes from a site offshore of Singer Island. It gets sucked up into a big ship called a hopper dredge, then gets unloaded onto the beach to be spread out evenly by awaiting bulldozers.

The beach re-nourishment project is about 75% compete.

Turtle season started March 1st and they have protocols set up to protect the nesting turtles.

Workers are on track to finish at Banyan Road by the end of the month; dumping nearly a million cubic yards of sand in total.

In Jupiter the Carlin Park re-nourishment project is complete, but they are now finishing up dredging the sand trap in the inlet. ...


Sea turtles killed by beach renourishment project on Palm Beach

WPBF.COM, West Palm Beach, by John Dzenitis, May 6, 2015

The recent Midtown Beach Renourishment Project on Palm Beach killed at least four loggerhead turtles and injured one endangered green sea turtle, according to documents released by the Army Corps of Engineers.

"The turtles are sucked right up into the dredge," said Ed Tichenor of Palm Beach County Reef Rescue. "They find body parts of the turtles after."

Tichenor said he had to file a Freedom of Information Act request to find out the Midtown Beach project's incidental take, which means how many turtles were killed or injured.

"The agencies are making it very difficult to get the information," Tichenor said. "I was kind of shocked to find out how close-mouthed everybody is about it. It's something they don't want out there. I guess it's bad PR for the projects."

The project began in January and lasted through April. Sea turtle nesting season begins in March.

In a statement to WPBF 25 News, a spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers said turtle deaths are "subject to (Freedom of Information Act)" because they involve administrative investigations. ...


Venice Beach renourishment begins

Herald-Tribune, by Christi Womack, March 9, 2015

VENICE - Sunbathers, volleyball players and swimmers are sharing space on Venice Beach with a massive project to restore what nature has taken away.

Bulldozers on land, vessels within eye's view offshore and a dredge 12 miles out are working to restore miles of shoreline that eroded about 150 feet over the past 10 years.

For the third time since the 1990s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is pumping offshore sand onto the shoreline, fixing eroded areas and creating a wider beach that gives more room for beachgoers. They are working 24 hours a day to get the project completed before turtle nesting season begins April 15. ...


Beach Renourishment Basics, Pros + Cons

By Don Barber, Geology Dept, Bryn Mawr College
Originally written as guideline for Surfrider Foundation.

… The bottom-line for is that nourished beaches hardly ever perform as well as advertised. Nevertheless, in terms of recreational beach use, nourishment is always preferred over "hard" beach stabilization methods, such as building new seawalls or groins. The most important thing to remember is that none of these methods stops erosion. Erosion will continue, but a nourished beach allows continued normal beach use, while a seawall sacrifices a recreational beach to save property or structures behind the beach.

We do well to keep in mind that nourishment projects are never proposed where human structures don't exist. This is because on natural beaches, erosion does not endanger the beach itself. Shorelines eroded for thousands of years, yet beaches remained, because they could change their shape and position. Erosion only becomes a problem when we place stationary buildings, parking lots and roads too close to the beach. Thus the best course of action is to crusade against additional development of our beaches and, wherever possible, encourage people to retreat from the beach. If we get out of the way, the beach will take care of itself, and we can continue to enjoy it at a much lower cost.


Geological Importance of Sand Compatibility for Sustaining Beaches

(Economically Wasteful and Environmentally Damaging Beach 'Renourishment')

PDF presentation by Harold R. Wanless, Katherine L. Maier and Donald F. McNeill, Dept. of Geological Sciences, University of Miami. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Compiled by Team SCPA


Last modified on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 09:50
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