By Cheryl Blackerby

    Rough seas halted dredging for the renourishment project at Boca Raton’s north beach Nov. 15. More bad weather delayed dredging during Thanksgiving week.
    “We only have eight full days of work left,” said Jennifer Bistyga, coastal engineer with the city of Boca Raton. “We will absolutely be finished before the end of December.”
    The project has been plagued by bad weather. Strong winds, rain and rough seas stopped the effort several times early this year. The project came to a halt at the beginning of turtle nesting season at the end of April, with only about 50 percent of the dredging completed.
    The north beach, which was hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy, starts 1,000 feet north of Spanish River Boulevard and runs south to just north of Red Reef Park. The dredging project started March 23.
    The dredge company picked up where it left off in early November at the end of turtle season. The Army Corps of Engineers, the city of Boca Raton, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are paying for the $4.1 milion  project.
    Another beach renourishment project, Boca’s central beach, will be put to bid in late spring 2015.
    “We hope to start dredging on central beach in November or December 2015,” she said.
    Central beach starts just south of Red Reef Park and runs to the Boca Inlet. The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, the city of Boca Raton and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will pay for the project.
    Although the central beach didn’t lose as much sand to Hurricane Sandy as the north and south beaches, a recent survey showed the beach needs sand.
    The central beach hasn’t been replenished since 2006 and is due for regular sand maintenance, usually done at 10-year intervals, said Bistyga.
    Central beach actually gained some sand since Hurricane Sandy because of the downward drift of sand from the north beach, but the beach still needs more sand due to natural erosion, she said.
    Boca’s north beach as well as beaches in Ocean Ridge and Delray Beach that were renourished early this year are U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects. The south Boca Raton beach was not an Army Corps project, but the city used the same contractor to save money.
    The city had hoped the central beach could have been done soon after the north beach to save more money using the same contractor, which had the dredge in place, but that didn’t happen.

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