Canaveral's beach to get sand

2:07 PM, Jul 23, 2007   |    comments
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Cape Canaveral - The city's long-awaited beach re-nourishment is about to get a shot of cash and, more importantly, sand.

An estimated 740,000 cubic yards of sand, equivalent to about 37,000 truckloads, will be pumped in to replenish the beach along a section of the North Reach, roughly between the Cocoa Beach Pier and Jetty Park, as part of an $8 million federally funded project.

"It's due," said Virginia Barker, management section supervisor for Brevard County Natural Resources. "There's a section of beach there in Canaveral that was really hurt by the 2004 storms."

The section of beach targeted for the project has not been replenished since 2000-01, a little beyond the desired six-year interval.

Sand will be piped in from north of the jetty. Contractor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock will begin work Nov. 1 and is expected to finish before the turtle nesting season, which begins May 1.

Officials said sea turtles should see an immediate benefit from the renourishment project.

"If there are no nesting habitats because of erosion, then placing sand on the beach does provide nesting areas," said Gary Appleson, policy coordinator of the nonprofit Sea Turtle Survival League and the Caribbean Conservation Corporation.

But it has to be done right or it can be more harmful to turtles if the sand doesn't match the natural beach or is too densely packed for nesting turtles to dig.

There are strict county management plans and state guidelines to follow.

"The state has guidelines and Brevard County has a good beach management plan," Appleson said. "If done correctly, it can improve sea turtle nesting habitat."

Some sections of beaches in Brevard County already have had sand pumped or trucked in since the hurricanes of 2004 eroded them. Others look destined to keep waiting. In its effort to cut more than $20 million from the budget, the county commission slashed spending, including $3 million that would have gone to much-needed dune renourishment in the Satellite Beach area.

Cape Canaveral Councilman Buzz Petsos said he's just thrilled that his city will see its renourishment project go ahead.

"I can't wait for it, " he said.

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