Miami Beach Seeks State and County Action on Beach Erosion

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Miami Beach Seeks State and County Action on Beach Erosion:

After Irma, federal government denied assistance

Despite severe beach erosion after Hurricane Irma, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined Miami Beach was not eligible for emergency funds to replenish the beach. This week, Miami Beach Commissioners passed a resolution urging the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Miami-Dade County to address the issue which they say has worsened as a result of new sand loss from severe weather since March 1 and seasonal high wave activity.
 
The County, State, and Federal governments are cost-sharing partners in the Miami-Dade County Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection Project which provided beach renourishment between 46th and 53rd Streets in Miami Beach last year (above). Irma caused extensive beach erosion at 22nd, 24th, 26th, 27th, 53rd, 55th, 57th, 63rd, 65th, and 79th Streets. Following the hurricane, USACE determined one-third of the historically placed sand had been lost and a total of approximately 730,000 cubic yards of sand was lost during Irma.
 
The most recent sand loss, according to the resolution, has further reduced the width of the beach, encroached on dunes, and created cliffing along the coastline. “[T]he waterline is now encroaching into the dunes impacting public safety and threatening to undermine public and private property.”
 
It notes that “[S]everal existing lifeguard towers, including the towers at 46th Street and 64th Street, have been relocated to protect them from structural damage” and that Ocean Rescue cannot continuously traverse the area from 54th Street north through 69th Street “presenting a safety risk for beachgoers”. Finally, it says “[T]he new beach erosion is also having a direct impact on the City’s beachfront hotels and concessionaires, as well as impacting residents that live adjacent to the beach and use the beach for recreation.”
 
The City is asking the State and County to address the sand loss citywide “and implement an emergency renourishment project to mitigate critical erosion conditions.”
 

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