Indian River County’s mayors seek briefing on beach protection

INDIAN RIVER SHORES – Four mayors and a vice mayor in Indian River County want to get more information beach protection technology while the county’s beach renourishment project continues.

Orchid Mayor Richard Dunlop raised the issue during a meeting of the county’s mayors, telling them that such devices could help keep the sand in place.

Sebastian Vice Mayor Don Wright suggested the issue go to the county’s Beaches and Shores Committee for discussion.

Years ago, the county received permitting from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to put large concrete barriers under the water a few hundred yards out from Sexton Plaza and Humiston Park, according to Vero Beach Interim City Manager Monte Falls.

“It was a long process,” Fellsmere Mayor Susan Adams said of getting the barriers approved and in place.

The barriers help to diminish the power of the waves crashing ashore.

Falls said that the biggest hurdle had been getting the necessary permits because there was not a lot of data on the barriers and their impact at the time.

Indian River Shores Mayor Tom Cadden said that it benefits the whole county to make sure that beachfront properties don’t lose their sand, especially the Disney resort.

“If the concrete barriers are a solution,” Cadden said, then they should research it.

Wright agreed.

“The cost is getting to be enormous,” he said of the county’s current beach replenishment project.

“Palm Beach County has had a lot of success with reefs,” Dunlop said, adding that the county did run into one snag – some barriers had been placed too close to shipping lanes and caused some boats to get snagged.

“We don’t have shipping lanes,” Adams said, joking that if a ship got too close to Indian River County’s barriers, then getting caught would be deserved.

Adams offered to track down someone who would be able to educate the mayors on the issue. That person could come to the next scheduled mayors’ meeting, which is currently set for June 13 at 1:30 p.m. in Orchid.

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