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Coastal re-vegetation project stands up to Hurricane Sandy

SANDY ON THE BEACH3 Coastal re vegetation project stands up to Hurricane Sandy

Sandy on the Beach

Coastal re-vegetation project stands up to Hurricane Sandy

By Thaddeus “thad” Hamilton

     One mile of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. beach stood up to Hurricane Sandy’s massive damage and destruction.  As the City of Fort Lauderdale fights back the raising waters, beach erosion, pollution, street closing, coastal flooding and the millions in cleanup cost of Hurricane Sandy, the one mile of coastal vegetation on Fort Lauderdale Beach, in front of Birch State Park and south of Sunrise Blvd. for half-of-a mile, planted by Broward Soil and Water Conservation District and their partners did its job in protecting the coast line, preventing massive flooding and beach erosion from happening. The Coastal Sand Dunes stood up to Hurricane Sandy and held her back. The one mile of coastal re-vegetation along A1A and in front of Birch State Park has raised the level of Fort Lauderdale Beach two – four feet. This massive coastal sand dune has raised the entire elevation of the beach eastward of the plantings.

     North and south of the coastal re-vegetation project Hurricane Sandy’s damage was unbelievable. Hurricane Sandy caused severe beach erosion, tearing sand from the expensive beach nourishment and dumping the sand onto A1A and blowing it across Broward County.

Hurricane Sandy damage to Fort Lauderdale Beach south end.

     The coastal re-vegetation project stood up to Hurricane Sandy, with little beach erosion onto A1A. In 2002 the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District in partnership with the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida Department of Transportation, Broward School System, Saturday Science Program and many other volunteers and organizations implemented the Sea Oats Storm Surge Project which helped to protect this portion of the Fort Lauderdale Beach.

     Fort Lauderdale Beach north of Birch State Park was two inches of water with eight – 10 feet high sand mounds piled up. This is the first time one could canoe on the streets of Ft. Lauderdale.

 So why protect Broward County’s eroding beaches?                                                                                                                                                                                                        

     These beaches are one of the county’s main attractions and resources for its residents, businesses and visitors.  Beach erosion threatens the recreational, cultural, economical and environmental interest and income to Broward County. Additional reasons to protect Broward County beaches are:

  • Maintain and improve economic benefits from tourism and beach properties
  • Extend the life of the re-nourishment projects
  • Create wildlife habitats
  • Improve turtle nesting
  • Reduce damage from storm surge
  • Stabilize the sand with vegetation
  • Reduce soil erosion and Non-Point Source Pollution
  • Enhance student and public environmental education
  • Increase stewardship building
  • Improve and increase recreational opportunities
  • Build the beach by capturing sand

     Thaddeus “Thad” Hamilton USDA-Natural Resources Conservationist Service (NRCS), retired and over 40 years of experience in agriculture and the environment.

 

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    About The Author

    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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