by Ken Ibold
Updated 3 yearss ago
The second phase of a massive beach restoration project is about to begin in Brevard.
By Ken Ibold
Backhoes and bulldozers are about to fire up again along Brevard County's beaches, starting the second stage of a massive beach restoration aimed at addressing a problem created 50 years ago.
Work on the last 3.4 miles of the Brevard County Shore Protection Project is scheduled to begin next month and follows a 9.4-mile stretch completed just before the start of sea turtle nesting season last spring. When completed, the $43-million restoration will mark the beginning of a 50-year plan to keep Brevard's beaches wide.
The federal government is paying the bulk of the $20-million cost of the second phase, with the remainder split between the state and the county.
The beach problems began in 1951, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began building an entrance channel into Port Canaveral. The channel, which was enlarged in 1965, disrupts the natural flow of sand. The result is that about 16 million cubic yards of sand didn't make its way south of the inlet in the last 40 years. During that time, the beach had been restored only once, amounting to 4 million cubic yards.
More than 300 beach property owners sued the Corps in 1992. Erosion had eaten away 400 feet of beach in some areas. After seven years in court, the Corps agreed to restore the beach and renourish it about every six years for 50 years -- a $138-million commitment. The first phase of the restoration began at the port and continued south to Patrick Air Force Base. The second phase runs from Indialantic to Spessard Holland Park south of Melbourne.
Without the restoration, the county faced losing 30% of its tourism jobs, including 8,000 to 10,000 beachside jobs, and $557 million in property values in the coastal communities.
"This settlement took a long time because it was a political as well as a legal solution," says Mason Williams, an attorney with Gray Harris & Robinson, which represented the property owners. "We wish it hadn't taken so long, but if you go look at it, you'll see it's made quite a remarkable difference."
In the News
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