In the never ending battle to contain Mother Nature, beach renourishment is underway again.
The $9 million county project is dumping about 1 million cubic yards of sand — about 56,000 dump trucks full — from about a mile off Singer Island to replace beach washed away with the steady ocean current.
A six-week delay in starting the 2.4-mile project south of Marcinski Road, along with setbacks from cold weather, mean the noisy dredge boats and steam shovels will mess up the beach beyond the scheduled completion date of March 1. That's the beginning of the annual eight-month sea turtle nesting season.
Female leatherbacks, who are the first to arrive every season, could be endangered, said Larry Wood, conservation biologist for the Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach. Wood is the former executive director of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach.
"Machinery could drive over their nests and crush the eggs. Sand could be piled on nests, and the hatchlings would never get out. Or a nesting turtle could get stuck in one of the pipes pumping the sand," Wood said.
Loggerhead officials monitoring the beach will cordon off a nest to prevent damage from machinery. They could also dig up the eggs and move them, Wood said.
The contractor, Louisiana-based Weeks Marine, will pay a fine of about $1,200 a day and must pay for 24-hour monitoring after March 1 by the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, said Dan Bates, director of Palm Beach County's Environmental Enhancement and Restoration Division.
Ever since we started building on the shifting sands of Florida's barrier islands, beach erosion has been a problem. Some place its much worse than others. Jupiter Island does not have the same problem.
Nevertheless, is this a great place to live? YOU BET!
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