Treasure Coast & South Florida Victory on Corps Project
Sand off Fort Pierce coast won't go south to Miami
By SUZANNE WENTLEY June 23, 2006
After petitions circulated and a powerful state senator came out against the project, federal officials Thursday announced they have dropped a plan to use sand off the Fort Pierce coast for a beach renourishment project in Miami-Dade County.
But critics say the fight isn't over.
Barry Vorse, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said the federal project managers decided against dredging one million cubic yards of sand from the St. Lucie Shoal after public meetings last month drew fierce opposition.
"We will no longer be pursuing borrowing sand for Miami-Dade from that area," Vorse said. "It was decided by the Jacksonville district of the corps to no longer pursue that particular idea."
Calls to Miami-Dade County for comment were not returned Thursday, and Vorse said he did not have any further information on the decision.
Miami-Dade County officials had wanted to use Treasure Coast sand for renourishment after exhausting their own offshore sand. Refusing to have inland sand trucked in to their beaches, they also explored using sand from the Bahamas, but that was off limits under federal law.
State Sen. Ken Pruitt, who opposed the project at public meetings in Stuart and Fort Pierce, said credit for the plan's defeat should go to the Surfrider Foundation activist group and other Treasure Coast residents who fought the idea even before a long-term federal feasibility study could get started.
But he said the fight to protect local sands has only just begun — and lawmakers might work in the next session to change the way healthy beaches are preserved throughout the state.
"This is an awakening for the Legislature to take a fresh approach to how we do this in terms of beach renourishment," he said.
"Just because we stopped them from taking the shoal sand doesn't mean they can't go someplace else, and that's not right."
Ericka D'Avanzo, the Surfrider Foundation Florida Regional Manager, agreed more work needs to be done until sands near the St. Lucie Shoal — which she said protected against local beach erosion — can be permanently protected.
Still, residents should be proud of their work, she added.
"We've done what we've set out to do, to have it stopped at the end of the scoping process," she said. "But it's not over yet."
THE FAILED PROJECT
• Miami-Dade County wanted to dredge one million cubic yards of sand from the St. Lucie Shoal 30 miles off Fort Pierce for a 13-mile-long beach renourishment project.
• On Thursday, Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that had meetings on the controversial plan last month, announced that sand source was no longer under consideration.
TCPalm.com article link.
Palm Beach Post article link.