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Friday, March 25, 2016

Fairhope Beach Erosion Problems Discussed

Fairhope, Alabama



Public Works Director Fidler and representatives from erosion specialists South Coast Engineering held a forum at the library last night to explain beach erosion problems and get input from the public about them.

The efforts will be focused primarily on Magnolia and North Beach sand erosion.
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Fidler said a beach management plan (including a profile of what is there now) is required by FEMA to qualify the city for sand-replenishment funding after natural disasters (ie. hurricanes).

Engineer Thomas Buhring said the problem is the beaches are "starved for sand" that used to flow naturally into the bay.

Comparing an aerial photo of today vs 1960 showing extensive sand bars then, Buhring said replenishing sand no longer naturally flows down through creeks and gullies because of mandatory erosion control efforts upstream enacted since the earlier photo was taken (1960).

He said his company was hired to survey current beach conditions, develop a management/monitoring plan, and make recommendations of methods for implementation.

Sand replenishment and use of vegetation for stabilization were mentioned.


CITIZENS' IDEAS

1960 vs today
Some ideas brought up by citizens were installing breakwaters out in the bay to limit surf, jetties* around beaches like at the Grand Hotel ("living shorelines"), removing the pier street boat launch, dredging Fly Creek/channel and using the sand on beaches, and placing rocks in front of existing bulkheads.

Fidler said the north beach was last replenished about 8 years ago (after Katrina) using sand pumped from offshore: it was dirty-looking at first but bleached whiter eventually.

She said dunes and plants were installed then as well, to reduce wind-blown sand erosion.

Buhring said sand was placed on the Magnolia Beach next to the boat launch two years ago, but it did not last as long as expected: something else is going on there that needs to be evaluated.
sand added last week

Th city just completed replenishing the sand there again, at a cost of under $15K according to the mayor.

Another public meeting is to be held to present the management plan when completed.


* There was some disagreement about whether Alabama law permitted constructing jetties to protect beaches.




Buhring at podium

Jetties at Grand Hotel beach


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is a hopeless case ....

Anonymous said...

Not so sure these "experts" know what they are doing, not a great track record so far.

Anonymous said...

they always settle for hiring the best "experts" ... living in town....

Anonymous said...

If it is tru jetties are not permitteed how did the grand hotel get away with it? bronner pull some strings?

Anonymous said...

Why not try to restore the natural sand flow down the gullies? Th Hwy 98 bridge over Fly Creek is blocking a lot of it.