Michelle Rau

2 minutes reading time (373 words)

The Martin County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project

The Martin County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project

The Martin County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project is a federal project that authorizes construction of a protective and recreational beach along 4 miles of shorefront southward from the St. Lucie County line to near the limit of Stuart Public Beach Park (R-1 to R‑25). The project was initially constructed in 1996 and subsequently rebuilt in early 2005 after direct hits by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne. The most recent renourishment was completed in April 2013 and involved the placement of approximately 510,000 cy of material along the 4-mile project area. The beach renourishment project is designed to provide storm damage protection to structures that would otherwise be threatened by chronic shoreline retreat and storm-induced beach erosion while maintaining an area suitable for recreation and wildlife habitat.

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The east coast of Florida (including Martin County) supports one of the highest nesting densities of loggerhead, green, and leatherback sea turtles within the southeastern United States. This particular beach renourishment event was unique in that it was selected as a pilot project to study the potential benefits of adjusting the traditional beach nourishment design template to ameliorate some of its negative effects on nesting sea turtles. This effort is supported by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Martin County, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others. The plan was to construct alternating traditional and “turtle-friendly” segments so monitoring could be implemented in a controlled environment to scientifically verify the performance of the turtle-friendly template without compromising storm-damage-reduction benefits. This construction project design included alternating equal-length segments of shoreline using the historical template with an experimental milder slope construction template. The experimental “turtle friendly” template consists of a construction berm commencing landward at an elevation of +6.5 NAVD88 with a 1 on 50 slope then 1 on 20 to MHW. One-time comprehensive monitoring will be conducted to determine if statistically significant improvements in nest densities and hatchling production can be achieved through modifications to the traditional construction template.

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Since ANAMAR prepared the Supplemental EIS for this project, we were interested in seeing the project come to fruition. We were invited to visit the site during construction and we have included some pictures from our trip. We hope the turtles like their new beach!

Martin County beach restoration 2


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