Minor beach erosion from Isaias

PHOTO BY NICK SAMUEL

Tropical Storm Isaias inflicted some erosion along our beaches as it brushed by about 45 miles off the coast Sunday, with the strongest impact observed at the southern end of the Jaycee Park boardwalk.  But Indian River County officials say they did not observe any damage to the dunes on our beaches.

County spokesman Brian Sullivan wrote in an email to Vero Beach 32963 that the Jaycee Park area is usually the most erosion-prone area of the county during tropical storms. But he expects some of that lost sand to return.

“Additionally, after every tropical event, there is a window of ‘natural recovery’ where the sand that was taken into the ocean returns to the beach once remnants of the storm exit the area,” Sullivan wrote.

County officials say our brush with Isaias should serve as a good reminder of the importance of beach renourishment projects such as those planned for Sectors 3 and 7 this coming November. In order to completely and evenly restore those nine miles of hurricane-battered beaches, 90 percent of adjacent private property owners must sign easement agreements allowing dunes to be repaired and sand replaced on portions of their parcels. 

Without the required signatures by Oct. 1, the county stands to lose federal and state grants paying for 70 percent of the $25 million renourishment.

“The county is hoping those impacts caused by Isaias will encourage coastal residents who have not yet completed easements to the Sector 3 and 7 projects to contact the county’s coastal engineering division to complete that process,” Sullivan wrote.

Without access to most of the 270 private parcels in Sector 3 –(about 6.6 miles between Treasure Shores and Turtle Trail parks)–and another 82 parcels in Sector 7 (extending 2.2 miles from Seagrove south to the Moorings)–restoration work would be spotty, resulting in gaps and steep cliffs between repaired sections.  Those “holes” could compromise sea turtle nesting and the integrity of the dunes themselves.

So far, the county has recorded 38 percent of the necessary easement agreements in Sector 3 with another 29 percent in process. In Sector 7, 40 percent have been fully executed with another 16 percent in process. 

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