OCEAN RIDGE: Bulldozers work in the surf at the north end of Palm Beach County’s Hammock Park as sand is pumped from the dredge through the floating pipe and then to shore, where a sand and water slurry is spread to widen the beach. Photos by Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star and Kimberlee Duke Pompeo
Restoration projects wrapping up along beaches with public access
By Jane Smith
Sand lost to Hurricane Irma was restored by mid-March to the coast in southern Delray Beach and along Boynton Beach’s public beach and into Ocean Ridge. Renourishment efforts continued in Boca Raton.
The Army Corps of Engineers, which is managing the $26.5 million project, split the work in two with Delray Beach, Ocean Ridge and Boynton Beach grouped together and Boca Raton by itself.
The Delray Beach segment, about 1.8 miles from Casuarina Road south to the city line with Highland Beach, wrapped up March 13, Army Corps of Engineers spokesman David Ruderman said in an email.
The dredge then moved up to Boynton Beach/Ocean Ridge over the March 14 weekend, Ruderman said.
In Boynton Beach, heavy equipment was stationed at the city’s Oceanfront Park. The beachfront park, about 1,000 feet long, received sand, as did the beach about 3,000 feet north of the park and about 2,000 feet south of it. Both parcels sit in the town of Ocean Ridge.
That part of the work was finished March 27, according Tom Mahady, ocean rescue chief for Boynton Beach.
“They’re removing their gear, which is estimated to be done by April 1,” Mahady said in an email.
In northern Boca Raton, from just north of Spanish River Boulevard south to Red Reef Park, 1.45 miles of beach restoration is underway.
That work, which started in early March, involves placing 770,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach. “They are about 35% complete,” Ruderman said March 25.
The contract award was for $12.8 million.
“They are aiming to be done by April 30,” Ruderman wrote. “They should be off the beach in time for the major part of the sea turtle nesting window.”
Sea turtle nesting season started March 1.
The sand renourishment was paid for using federal tax dollars authorized by Congress in June under the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies Act.
The approximate cost for restoring the beaches in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Ocean Ridge is $13.7 million. The beaches received nearly 800,000 cubic yards of sand, equal to the amount needed to fill about 250 Olympic-size swimming pools.
DELRAY BEACH: Cliffs up to 3 feet tall are common along the edge of renourishment projects as ocean waves work to level the newly pumped sand. This is usually a prime spot to gather shells. Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. of Illinois dredged the sand offshore for the three beaches. Weeks Marine Inc. of New Jersey is handling the Boca Raton work.
Tracy Logue, coastal geologist with the Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management department, said extra steps were needed once the sea turtle nesting season started March 1:
• Hourly nesting surveys within the construction area.
• Relocation of any nests that could be affected by construction to a designated site outside of the project limits.
• Limited construction lighting for nighttime operations to avoid excessive illumination of the water’s surface while meeting federal standards for construction lighting at night.