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Coastal Hazards Commission
April 10, 2006 Meeting Summary
Massachusetts Experience with Beach Nourishment
Rebecca Haney (CZM) provided an overview of beach nourishment and Massachusetts experience with it. Upland and offshore sources of sand as well as material from dredging projects were described. Design considerations including grain size were also discussed.
Siasconset Beach Restoration Proposal
Cheryl Bartlett (Siasconset Beach Preservation Fund (SBPF), Nantucket) introduced the Siasconset Beach restoration proposal and CP&E, a coastal engineering firm from Florida. Real estate along Siasconset Beach is valued at over $500 million. Bartlett also stressed that tourism, which amounted to $246 million in 2003, is essential to Nantucket's economy.
Note: SBPF proposes to widen 2-3 miles of Siasconset Beach by 200-250 ft and elevate it by at least 10 ft. The project design includes using 1.6-2.4 million cubic yards of sand from an offshore source. Studies are underway to characterize sand from two sources approximately 4.5-5 miles offshore of Nantucket. Please see the SBPF Website for more information on the proposal.
Florida Experience with Beach Nourishment
Rick Spadoni (Coastal Planning and Engineering, Boca Raton, Florida) highlighted the pros of beach nourishment, presented details of projects CP&E worked on in Florida, North Carolina, and New York, and discussed the use of offshore borrow sites. The projects Spadoni described avoided hard-bottom marine resources using buoys and active monitoring of dredge activity including horizontal and vertical positions. Design and permitting takes 2-4 years for most projects. Project cost depends on many variables including length of beach, location, volume, and source of sand. Projects in Florida have cost $4-6/cubic yard. Spadoni estimated that the Siasconset Beach project could cost $8-10/cubic yard. A beach with an average wave climate requires approximately 750 million cubic yards per mile. Funding sources for beach nourishment projects in Florida include: (1) tourism income; (2) a tax on residents; (3) state funding that is dependent on public access/parking and based on a dock stamp tax; (4) some general state funds; and (5) federal funding.
Winthrop Beach Case Study
Joe Orfant from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) summarized the history of Winthrop Beach including severe storm damage, construction of a seawall, breakwaters, revetment, and groins, and a recent proposal to nourish the beach with 500,000 cubic yards of sediment. Winthrop is a barrier beach between two eroding drumlins. Five upland and 14 offshore sources were considered for the beach nourishment project. Upland sources were estimated to cost at least 2-3 times that of an offshore source using a hopper dredge. The preferred offshore option is NOMES site 1, which is eight miles southeast of Winthrop and was identified by a study funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the 1970s as a potential aggregate source. A 12-month marine biological study was conducted for NOMES 1 and a biological impact report was filed in December 2002. The permit process for this project began 7-8 years ago. During the permitting process, $500,000 has been spent on temporary reinforcement due to undermining of the seawall and the formation of a sinkhole landward of the wall. DCR's goal is to have all of the permits by the end of this summer and put the construction project out for bid in early fall.
Fisheries and Habitat Concerns Relating to Beach Nourishment and Sand Mining
Paul Diodati from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) gave an overview of the fishing industry in the Gulf of Maine, discussed why studies documenting the impacts associated with beach nourishment and sand mining in Florida are not applicable to similar projects in New England, and described the cumulative and severe impacts of trawling and dredging. He estimated a recovery time of 6-10 years for cobble environments impacted by dredging. He also outlined the Cod Conservation Zone and stated that cod stocks are down since 1979-1981 counts.
All of the PowerPoint presentations are available on the Coastal Hazards Commission web page.
CZM Director, Susan Snow-Cotter, outlined five working groups: policy; planning and regulations; protection; hazards information; and 20-year infrastructure plan. She also announced the chairs and staff for each working group. Please see the organizational approach handout for details. The working groups are tasked with identifying issues, prioritizing them, and making recommendations. Commission members are encouraged to attend as many working group meetings as possible. Chairs are responsible for inviting additional expertise as needed.
The 20-year infrastructure plan working group is scheduled to meet on May 16, June 2, and June 9 at 11:00 a.m. in room 466 of the State House. The chair, Representative Frank Hynes, will contact Commission members with further details.
A Coastal Hazards Commission timeline was also provided to the Commission members.
The next Commission meeting will be held in Boston on May 8.