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Beyond the Headlines - Jacksonville Beaches

Jacksonville Beaches
 
Responses to statements in the petition:
Stop Beach Re-nourishment In Jacksonville For Good
Care2 Petitions, by Jacob Adkins, March 28, 2016

STATEMENT:  The Mayor and The City Council, Florida

To whom it may concern, the purpose of this message is to display the concern, by a large group of fisherman, beach-goers, and surfers, on the issue of the beach re-nourishment project that is set to begin in early July of 2016. Many of the current residents in and around the beach area are concerned with the numerous negative impacts that come with the dumping of "new" sand on the beaches. First, it is known that the unnatural deposition of sediment on the beaches will cause red tides. These red tides occur when the there is a spark in the dinoflagellate population. Dinoflagellate populations exponentially increase when they have a large amount of sediment that is suspended in the water column for an extended period of time. This creates a perfect environment for the micro plankton to grow out of control almost as if it were HeLa cells in a cell culture. There is more than enough proof that red tides occur due to re-nourishment projects. Countless people throughout the state experience the effects of the beach re-nourishment projects annually.

FACT:  There is no correlation between the appearance of red tides at Jacksonville Beach and other beach construction projects. 

A red tide bloom typically forms offshore in the Gulf of Mexico; an outbreak was first documented in Florida in 1844.  Scientists concur that it occurs naturally.  Under certain weather conditions, the bloom will get caught in the Gulf Stream current exiting the Gulf of Mexico between Cuba and Florida and be carried north along the east coast of the United States. A persistent east wind can the cause the bloom to accumulate along the shore of Northeast Florida.

Red tide was documented at Jacksonville Beach in 1972, 1976, 1987, 1999, 2002 and 2007. Beach nourishment projects have occurred in this area in 1978, 1980, 1985-1987, 1991, 1995, 2005, and 2011, so the red tide events did NOT occur during the same period as renourishments of Jacksonville Beach. 

Again, scientists consider a beach nourishment event very unlikely to cause a red tide bloom. 

For more information on red tides in Florida, please go to: 

·         http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/092707/met_203187091.shtml#.VwVefzZf2po

·         http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/faq/

·         http://news.usf.edu/article/templates/?a=7285&z=220

STATEMENT:  Not only do the greed driven projects cause red tides, but they also devastate the fishing in the specific area for many years to follow. In 2009 and 2010, when the last re-nourishment protect was completed here in Jacksonville, there was a red tide which caused the fishing to take a dive off of the deep end. This is coming from my own experience of fishing off of the Jacksonville beach pier. Before this red tide, countless king mackerel, cobia, triple tail, and other fish were caught off the pier every year. There were so many caught that there were no records kept. Now, for the last 4 years, the pier has averaged 45 mackerel a year which is extremely different compared to the hundreds caught in the past years. Also, the cobia and triple tail fishing is practically non-existent.

FACT:  The last Duval County shore protection nourishment was started and completed within three months in 2011.  There were no beach projects in 2009 and 2010. There were also no reported red tide events in the Jacksonville Beach area in 2009 and 2010.

STATEMENT:  Other than killing thousands of fish, the high level of sediment in the water begins to settle over much of the bottom life which kills it. It dies because the sediment covers it and keeps it from getting sunlight and filling it's niche in the surrounding ecosystem. It's is known that coral and bottom dwelling creatures (specifically crustaceans and mollusks) die due to excess levels of sediment such as the that from the project settling on top of them due to the aforementioned reasons. When the coral becomes covered, the first stage of the ecosystem is destroyed in the area.

FACT:  There are no corals or hard-bottoms in the Duval County project footprint or near the offshore sand borrow source.  Scientific literature generally agrees that aquatic organisms (benthic infaunal organism biomass) recover from renourishment disruption in a year, although the community structure can take up to three years or more to recover to pre-nourishment levels. 

STATEMENT:  The second issue is that the dumping of sand causes the water levels to drop in the surrounding area. This causes the breaks in the waves to be much smaller which will begin to push away surfers and paddle boarders. The same can be said for the pier; once the water levels drop, less fish bite because they travel to deeper, more preferable depths. Therefore, people will begin to fish elsewhere. Third, the middle school topic of erosion and deposition is very relevant. No matter how much sand is placed on the beaches, it will eventually be eroded away and deposited elsewhere. I'm very well aware that this costs the city millions of dollars to do. I fear that this project will be the final straw for many surfers and fisherman who generate the majority of commerce and revenue here on the beachfront. Without their presence, the beach will lose most of the "crowd" and the majority of the income. In my opinion, as well as thousands of others in the area, this project is dangerous for the environment, the income of the beaches, and over all a waste of time and money. There are many other beaches that have experienced the negative effects of re-nourishment projects like this one. Go no further than a simple google search of the effects and you will see what we are attempting to display.

FACT:  The goal of engineered shore projects is to reduce risk and promote coastal resilience. Shore projects help to reduce the damages – economic, environmental, infrastructure, human health and safety – of tropical storms and hurricanes. Thousands of residents and businesses in Duval County benefit from this shore project because storm events erode the beach, rather than destroying coastal infrastructure.  Coastal communities with engineered beaches have historically fared much better than other communities as proven by numerous scientific studies. 

In 2013, Florida beaches had an annual recreational value of about $50 billion – and the majority of these beaches had been renourished. Erosion is the number one concern beach tourists have about beaches. In areas where eroded beaches have been restored, tourist visits and revenues have increased.  

Beach nourishment projects, along with providing economic stability and opportunities, also have inherent benefits in restoring critical habitat for shorebird and marine turtle nesting. Scientists report that threatened sea turtle and shorebird populations have increased in recent years.      

STATEMENT:  It is painfully apparent that the mayors and city council members here in Florida are too timid to do anything about these types of issues. As of today, March 26th, there has been little to nothing done about the Lake Okeechobee disaster and the Indian River Lagoon fish kill. These two events alone are enough to devastate the fishing in some of the most popular fishing and vacation spots in Florida. I fear that these two events, along with the re-nourishment projects occurring around Florida this summer, will have the largest negative impact on the ecosystem and tourism that Florida had ever seen.

FACT:  Lake Okeechobee releases, which are made to help ensure public safety, are not related to the Indian River Lagoon fish kill. Brown tide and other water quality issues (green algae) are directly related to the over-abundance of nutrients found in local waterways. As rain and then runoff occurs, more fertilizers and sewage makes their way into water systems. 

For more information on Florida’s efforts to restore water quality in the lagoon, go to http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20160403/NEWS/160409850/101040?Title=Water-clarity-improves-in-Indian-River-Lagoon-but-concerns-remain

STATEMENT: We, the people of Jacksonville, dislike and distrust the efforts by the city council to "re-nourish" the beaches and we demand that the plans for re-nourishing the beaches be terminated immediately. Also, we demand that there shall be no further plans to deposit sand on and re-nourish the beaches here in Jacksonville because we feel there is an immediate danger to the welfare of the ecosystem and the lives of thousands who attend the beach frequently.

Response:  Science, as opposed to innuendo and emotion, demonstrates that beach nourishment supports the economy, and the resiliency and the environment of coastal communities.

 
Dredging at sand source causes some turbidity in the ocean, which is constantly monitored.
 
Sand is piped onto the beach and then leveled (note the look of the sand).
 
Completed beach work is clean.
 
Aquatic organism mortality due to dredging typically attracts foraging water and seabirds to the dredge pipe outfall. There is some beach turbidity during sand placement; typically the sand is very clean.