Florida is the only continental state surrounded by coastal seas and oceans; here, you are never more than 75 miles from saltwater. In Martin County, our waters define our quality of life - particularly our beautiful, uncrowded beachfront, which attracts visitors from across the country and around the world. We are fortunate to have nearly 50 percent of this shoreline as public land, including fourteen beach parks.
While nearly all beaches are naturally prone to gradual erosion, adverse weather conditions and severe storms, such as hurricanes, can cause significant and sudden changes in the shoreline. Ongoing maintenance is required to protect our beachfront’s accessibility, natural beauty, economic viability and ecological vitality.
What causes erosion?
Energy. Wind, waves, tides, current and storms all generate energy that impact our barrier islands and shape the shoreline and beaches. Naturally occurring erosion removes sand and deposits it offshore. Over time, waves return some of the sand to the beach. Storms with heavy surf and high winds can cause erosion to occur with increased intensity and frequency.
Why does the County perform nourishment?
Healthy beaches absorb the brunt force of waves, wind, tides, current and storms allowing dunes to protect infrastructure. Beaches and dune systems require nourishment projects to protect, maintain and preserve the entire coastal system.
Beach nourishment projects are designed using predictive capabilities. Scheduled nourishment in Martin County occurs on an eight-year cycle and is generally based on funding opportunities. Storm response and recovery projects occur to correct shoreline and dune erosion and barrier island overwash as a result of storms activity.
Coastal Engineering oversees the implementation of federal beach renourishment and sand bypassing projects throughout Martin County on an ongoing basis through the dredging, transfer and disposal of sand from inlets and offshore sites into eroded areas.
What are the benefits of nourishment?
Beaches are an integral part of the quality of life in Martin County and support homes, businesses and related infrastructure (roads, utilities) for many residents and visitors. But our beaches are more than a playground; they are also an environmental treasure and a tremendous economic asset for tourism-related businesses along the Treasure Coast. They provide protection for coastal estuaries, upland structures and the mainland.
Beach nourishment projects are a managed response to natural and man-made erosion and provide a number of benefits including storm damage reduction, recreational and environmental enhancement.
Where does funding for nourishment come from?
Funding is project-specific, utilizing a combination of state, federal and county funds.