Trucks unload sand on Phipps Ocean Park beach (Damon Higgins, Palm Beach Daily News)

FL - 'Positive trends': Palm Beach's shoreline will continue to accumulate sand, consultant says

The town's beaches will continue to accumulate sand in the coming years and remain in good condition, according to an annual report presented last week by a coastal engineering consultant.

Since 1990, when long-term sand volume measurements began, Palm Beach's 12.2 mile-shoreline has experienced a net gain of 5.24 million cubic yards of sand, said Mike Jenkins, a coastal engineer with West Palm Beach-based Applied Technology & Management.

Jenkins and a handful of state and local scientists shared facts, figures and insight about the town's coastal management efforts as part of the annual Palm Beach Island Beach Management Agreement stakeholder meeting Aug. 24 at Town Hall.

Implemented in 2013, the BMA is a regional beach management plan that streamlines permitting for beach renourishment while improving the near-shore ecosystem by monitoring sand drift via ocean current, sea turtle nesting and near-shore hard-bottom environments.

Related:Palm Beach increasing efforts to educate public about sea turtle protection

The agreement affects 15.7 miles of shoreline from the Palm Beach Inlet (officially called the Lake Worth Inlet) to the Boynton Beach Inlet.

The 5.24 million cubic yards of extra sand corresponds to an average increase of 47.4 feet in the width of the town’s shoreline, Jenkins said.

The shoreline is divided into eight 'reaches,' or segments, running from the Lake Worth Inlet to the south town limits.

While the additional sand is a positive measure for the town, Jenkins said, it is not evenly distributed.

Among the 'critical' areas of concern within the town are reach 2 in the North End and reach 8 in the South End, where Jenkins said an abundance of nearshore hardbottom habitat makes it difficult to conduct large-scale dredging projects.

Reach 2 covers the shoreline from Onondaga Avenue to El Mirasol, and reach 8 stretches from Lake Worth Municipal Beach to the south town limits. Those segments, along with most of the others within the town, are considered 'critically eroded' by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

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