The joint beach nourishment between the City of Deerfield Beach and the Town of Hillsboro Beach will place approximately 233,000 cubic yards of beach-compatible sand onto the southern beach. The project will utilize a 30’’ cutterhead suction dredge located at the Boca Raton Inlet ebb shoal.
The dredge will first construct the South Boca Raton Beach Nourishment Project prior to extending the pipeline approximately 17,000 feet south into the Town of Hillsboro Beach. The South Boca Raton project will also place approximately 200,000 cubic yards of sand. The South Boca Raton project is anticipated to last approximately 3-4 four weeks and conclude by the end of March. Once the pipeline is extended, the Deerfield/Hillsboro Beach portion is anticipated to last approximately 3-4 weeks and be concluded by the end of April.
On the southeast coast of Florida, sea turtle nesting season officially begins on March 1 due to the early season leatherback sea turtles. However, nesting activity is usually light enough in the earliest part of the season that we can safely construct a beach nourishment project while also protecting any turtles that may come up to nest on the beach. Because most nesting occurs later in the year, this is why the project must be substantially completed by May 1.
State permits require all beach nourishment work to be done outside of the main part of sea turtle nesting season. In most of Florida, that is from May 1 – Oct 31. State and Federal regulatory agencies highly regulate beach nourishment projects regarding the potential for nesting sea turtles.
Specific protocols have been implemented to minimize the potential for impacts on nesting associated with the project. This includes daytime and nighttime monitoring and the ability to relocate nests laid within the project area if necessary. Additional monitoring required by permit will be done between March 1 and April 30.
Once construction begins, the beach construction area will be surveyed at night in order to spot any turtle that may emerge in the construction zone. If a nesting turtle emerges from the ocean onto the beach, all construction activity is required to stop until the turtle returns to the ocean. If a turtle does lay a nest in the construction zone, the eggs will be carefully relocated to a safe area of the beach and allowed to develop safely until they hatch.
Due to its unique operation, dredging equipment is in high demand, and timing for these projects is governed by the permits and contractor availability.
What is beach erosion?
Wind, waves, and currents continually supply and remove sand from the beach. Erosion occurs when these forces remove more sand than they supply. The natural movement of sand on and off the beach and along the coast is disrupted when inlets are created or enlarged when development is allowed in the active dune, and by the placement of coastal structures like sea walls. Rising sea levels and diminishing sand supply also contribute to beach erosion.
How Beach Nourishment Works
Beach nourishment involves pumping or trucking sand onto the beach to rebuild an eroding shoreline. Nourishment is the most natural beach restoration solution. In addition to the aesthetic enhancements, wider beaches enhance recreation, provide storm protection for roads and buildings, and potentially improve sea turtle nesting habitats.
Beach-quality sand used for nourishment projects typically comes from offshore sand deposits, inlet shoals or is obtained from inland sources like sand mines.
Historical Beach Nourishment Projects
In early 2015, the City of Deerfield Beach completed a nourishment project in conjunction with the Town of Hillsboro Beach. 50,000 cubic yards of sand was trucked in over a period of four weeks.
The project area covered approximately 5.7 acres
The beach-compatible sand was transported by truck from a sand mine in Central Florida
The project cost was $2.1 million and was split between the City of Deerfield Beach, the Town of Hillsboro Beach, and the State of Florida