Beach Sand

Keeping beaches sandy, and condos upright, on a bare, barrier island, requires mining sand from the ocean floor. Pumping it through a pipeline, to a distribution network on the beach.

There, the sand/seawater slurry pools. And the seawater drains away, leaving the sand which is bulldozed and contoured to extend the beach.

That’s what this image, of our local beach, shows. Sand, mined by the ship, raises the beach about 10′ and pushes the ocean out about 100′.

Rebuilding a beach.

Under normal circumstances, the Gulf Stream Current, moving at about a meter/second, continually removes the sand. I’ve seen half of it disappear in a single large storm. A hurricane can take all of it and more away in a single day.

Much sand has been pumped by the day’s end as this image shows. But this crew has a long way to go. And then, will need to turn around and do it again.

It’s a 24 – 7 operation.

It’s an expensive, energy intensive, probably environmentally dirty, and ultimately futile process fighting against nature. It’s just one of the unintended consequences when condos replace mangroves on a barrier island.

But that’s the price paid for an idyllic beach in paradise. Wouldn’t be paradise without one.  😉

A week later, a nice new beach. Just move the pipe and ship. Then do it again.

North view.
South view.