Endless Erosion Battle a Matter of Money

Treasure Island, Florida. Photo source: ©© Isuru Senevi


Since the first federal beach renourishment project in 1969, about $25 million in today’s dollars have been spent on Treasure Island, Florida, alone to fight a natural process that’s been happening for ages on barrier islands, researchers say.

And it will all have to be done again and again and again — indefinitely — until the money runs out, people move out or sea level rise drives everyone out to seek higher and drier ground.

In the 45 years since, the corps has returned more than a dozen times and pumped 3 million cubic yards of sand back onto the beach from offshore shoals and nearby channels.

Treasure Island’s erosion problems are among the worst in the state, but its sand losses and replacement costs pale in comparison to those of other beach destinations.

A few coastal scientists and fiscally conservative politicians point to the apparent futility of the billions spent across the nation in the past 50 years to stop sand from doing what it’s naturally inclined to do…

An estimated $140 million in today’s dollars has been spent over the years to restore 12.3 million cubic yards of sand at Miami Beach, and New York’s Rockaway Beach has required $216 million and 29 million cubic yards, according to research compiled by Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

“We’re talking about billions of dollars, approaching tens of billions” nationally, said coastal geologist Rob Young, the university program’s director, noting that damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2010 has driven federal renourishment spending to all-time highs.

Read Full Article, The St Petersburg Tribune

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