Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Beaches to Share Limited Supply of Dredged Sand

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Beaches to Share Limited Supply of Dredged Sand

Article excerpt

Byline: Christopher F. Aguilar, Shorelines staff writer

After tons of shell-filled dredge material was dumped onto 21 blocks of beach in Jacksonville Beach last month in a bungled beach renourishment project, the city has learned it must share an insufficient supply of acceptable sand with Atlantic Beach.

Even though Atlantic Beach needs 180,000 cubic yards of sand and Jacksonville Beach needs 120,000 to replenish eroding coastlines, city, federal and environmental officials this week discussed the fact that the two cities must split the 170,000 cubic yards that can be dug from the mouth of the St. Johns River.

Selected areas of both cities' beaches will receive the sand because not enough is available for a complete restoration. Officials have determined that Neptune Beach doesn't need sand in Jacksonville's twice-a-decade beach restoration program.

"The proposed solution is to allocate sand based on greatest need," said Atlantic Beach City Manager Jim Hanson. "The priority will be areas that need the sand and are at most risk if a major storm occurs."

The river mouth is the only area where quality sand is available to renourish both cities' beaches, coastal engineer Kevin Bodge told the Atlantic Beach City Commission on Monday.

On Wednesday, Bodge recommended renourishment in Atlantic Beach from First to 15th streets, and in Jacksonville Beach from 16th to 10th avenues south and from Fourth to 14th avenues north.

Even with the lack of quality sand available, the commission members decided to go ahead with the renourishment project on their beach because, with state and federal budget crunches, they could not be assured funds would be available in the future for the project. Duval County's beaches were last renourished in 1995.

Jacksonville Beach City Manager George Forbes said the two cities are working as a team to identify the areas most in need of sand to make the best use of what little is available.

"I thought Atlantic Beach made the right decision," Forbes said. "We're going to work together and we will each be treated fairly. …

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