Beach Nourishment + Maintenance

June 24, 2023

Aerial view of US Corps of Engineers' Townsends Inlet to Cape May Inlet Project (courtesy of the US Army Corps of Engineers).

The Disappearing Beach –

More than $2.6 billion has been spent dumping sand onto the Jersey Shore. Was it worth it?

Waves lap up against the narrow shore of North Wildwood as Patrick Rosenello straightens his sunglasses, and leans against the steel seawall, the soft sand crumbling beneath his tan dress shoes.

Quiet as he is, the mayor doesn’t have to utter a word about how important the tiny specks of sediment are to the resort town. His navy sweater vest says it all.

The municipality’s seal features two dolphins flanking the phrase “Sun and Sand.”

The sunshine, he has. But sand? Not so much.

A winter of harsh weather and waves have taken a chunk out of North Wildwood’s 2 1/4 mile coast, leaving massive cliffs and practically no beach in some parts — especially at high tide. In any other year, they would have trucked in sand from sister city Wildwood’s plentiful beaches to replace what Mother Nature washed away. But this year, the beaches were too narrow for the heavy offroad vehicles to get through.

Erosion is Rosenello’s worst enemy.

“It’s getting me from every angle,” says the 50-year-old mayor while standing on a beach incrementally being eaten away.

But the savior always seems to be more sand. In fact, a “beach replenishment” was happening at that very moment, steadily pumping millions of grains of sand slurry onto the shoreline — not in his town but in Avalon just 15 miles away.

This summer, Avalon’s shore will be back to full, offering ample room for beachgoers to lounge on the sand with not an ounce of worry the waves will wash up onto the street.

Like other municipal leaders eager to spruce up their beaches, Rosenello will have to wait his turn.

“It’s worse than that. I can see the dredge from my house,” he says, laughing at the irony. “From the second floor looking out across Hereford Inlet.”

Replenishment — the process of widening the beach by pumping in sand that’s been dredged from offshore and reinforcing dunes to withstand the brunt of nasty storms — is “sacrificial by design” according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The sand is meant to be washed away… video (06-14-2023):
North Wildwood, N.J. faces severe beach erosion and needs sand

North Wildwood, like many Jersey Shore towns, relies on sand replenishment from the feds to keep the beaches plentiful amid worsening coastal erosion. But project delays have local officials worried more of the beach could disappear before they get help.


More on Beach Nourishment + Maintenance . . .

Carlsbad (by Dusty CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr).

Carlsbad considers joining other coastal cities in yet another sand replenishment project – the San Diego Union-Tribune

SANDAG asked Carlsbad to shoulder a proportional share of the $200,000 cost for a planning, feasibility and economic analysis needed to start the project, which would pull sand from the ocean and spread it on beaches from Oceanside to Imperial Beach….

UPDATE: The City Council unanimously opposed actively participating in the City of Oceanside’s sand nourishment pilot project during its April 11 meeting, remaining opposed to any plans that may obstruct the natural flow of sand down the San Diego County coastline.

However, the Carlsbad City Council agreed to request a city staffer be present during the neighboring city’s proposed pilot project meetings and design competitions…

Sunday Afternoon on the Pacific Surfliner: View of Beach & Lifequard Tower, Orange County (by Joe Wolf CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

Massive beach restoration project for Orange County coastline approved – CBS | KCAL News

The Federal Government has agreed to a major beach restoration project in Orange County to restore almost 2 million cubic feet of sand lost to storm erosion over the past several years.

The sand will be dredged from the sea and added to replenish the coastline from Seal Beach to Bolsa Chica to Huntington Beach and as far as the Newport Beach Pier.

“We’re experiencing a large amount of receding of sand into the ocean,” said Kevin Pearsall, State Parks Superintendent.

The project will help protect property and roads from flooding. Seal Beach saw flooding in January.

“It’s nerve wracking that they have to do that, but time erodes everything,” said Colleen Walsh, a Bolsa Chica resident…

“Recycling” Glass Back to Sand … For Beaches?

There have been several recent proposals and some projects actually underway to grind up glass bottles and use this ground glass to replenish beaches. Along most shorelines, other than in tropical environments, the dominant mineral making up the beach sand is quartz, which is silicon dioxide (SiO2), the same elemental composition as glass. While this may initially seem like a good solution for replenishing or nourishing disappearing or narrow beaches, this concept is not a sustainable or effective approach.

Initially derived from silica sand glass is a valuable resource that is already in a pure form that can most effectively be recycled or melted down to make more glass, rather than being put on the beach where it will be lost to the ocean over time as it is carried offshore or alongshore…

Glass Powder (by Hideya Hamano CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

Use of Pulverized Recycled Glass for Beach Nourishment: A Review – Georgia Coastal Research Council (GCRC)

This paper reviews geotechnical, biological, and abiotic analyses conducted on the experimental placement of recycled glass on beaches in Florida. It will also describe the experiences local governments have had when considering the use of recycled glass as an alternative material for beach nourishment.

Coastal erosion caused by increased extreme weather events and sea level rise is escalating the rate and extent to which beaches are washing away. Traditionally, inland and offshore sand and dredged material from rivers, canals, and the ocean have been used to nourish beaches, but these resources are becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to obtain…

Care for a drink? (by Vincent VR CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

How A Used Bottle Becomes A New Bottle – NPR Planet Money

The rise of curbside recycling programs over the past few decades has meant more glass recycling. But for a long time, many recycling centers didn’t have the technology to turn recycled glass into the raw material for new bottles. Instead, recycled glass often wound up being used as a cheap construction material, or even to cover landfills.

Now, with new technology that can better sort glass collected in curbside recycling, more used glass bottles can be turned back into new glass bottles. To see how this works, we went to a glass recycling facility and a bottle factory…

Outside a recycling plant in Jersey City, N.J., there are piles and piles of what looks like garbage.

But it’s actually broken glass…

Glass trash at the local recycle (by Chuckcars CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr).

Can recycled glass help restore Louisiana’s eroding coastline? – the Guardian

Dave Clements, owner of Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge, a beloved dive bar in New Orleans, has watched Louisiana’s coast shrink year after year.

“I used to go fishing quite a bit down in Delacroix area. Me and my buddy would go out in a flat boat,” he says. Clements remembers finding “a little spot, a little island” where he and his friend would take breaks while fishing for redfish, sheepshead, speckled trout and flounder. When they went back to the same spot a month later, the patch of land was gone. “I actually stopped fishing because it was so depressing..”

Recycling (by RubyT via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Flickr).

Restoring Louisiana’s Shoreline, One Glass Bottle at a Time – GIZMODO

Glass Half Full is redirecting glass from landfills and turning it into much-needed sand.

Louisiana’s shoreline is rapidly eroding due to sea level rise and extreme weather fueled by climate change. But a scrappy New Orleans glass recycling initiative, Glass Half Full, is rounding up as many of the city’s glass bottles as possible to create sand for coastal restoration.

The team, a winner of the 2023 Gizmodo Science Fair, got started in 2020…

Gov. Ron DeSantis, Hurricane Ian Press Event (by Florida Fish and Wildlife CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

Gov. DeSantis touts post-Hurricane Ian beach renourishment funding – Florida Politics

Volusia County is set to receive $37.7M out of the $100M set aside for beach renourishment.

Volusia County and other areas that suffered beach erosion from Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole are set to receive $100 million for beach renourishment projects as part of legislation passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in December…

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