The Sebastian Inlet chapter has been providing fact-based input throughout this project’s 22 year history. During this period, we advocated for and inspired several modifications to the original plan. Most noteworthy was a significant reduction of the beachfront area affected by the project. Unfortunately, several major issues remain despite the efforts of our chapter and other individuals and organizations. The following summarizes our current evaluation:

  • Reef Destruction. The additional destruction of the reef is unacceptable.
    1. The claim that only 10% of the reef will be buried by the sand deposition is not valid. Large portions of the reef have already been buried by previous fill dumping projects. It appears the new project will bury 100% of the remaining reef, which is but a fraction, apparently 10% of what was once present.
    2. In addition to direct burial, the reef will be buried as fill is moved by waves and currents, it will bury additional reef not directly buried by the fill dumping.
    3. Due to the burial of the reef by fill dumping, the reef will be inaccessible from the shoreline, which will deny residents and tourists the unique opportunity to enjoy the marine life viewable during low tides. Thousands of Brevard residents have grown up playing on the reef and its tidepools, tens of thousands of residents and tourists have repeatedly surfed and fished the reef, and we are committed to ensuring that future generations have the same opportunities.

 

  • Public Input. The claim that lots of meetings have occurred is misleading.
    1. There were two Army Corps of Engineers public meetings on this project over the last 12 years. The first meeting was held in September 2005 and the second in February 2010.
    2. Public comment at these meetings was limited, a mockery of the ‘public meeting’ process.
      1. During the September 2005 meeting officials denied approximately 20 beachside surfers and anglers, most of them year-round residents, the opportunity to comment. In contrast, condominium-owners, who were demanding a dredge project, were allowed to speak and give slide presentations.
      2. The 2010 meeting allowed very limited opportunity for public comment. In fact, all comments were collected via kiosks.
    3. The Surfrider Foundation has repeatedly asked the Army Corps for another public meeting to no avail, especially after changes were made to the project plan.
    4. The Port Canaveral harbor does not have an impact on the Mid-Reach region, according to the Army Corps. of Engineers’ own documents. Therefore, there is no demand nor requirement that the Federal government fund the Mid-Reach project as a consequence of the effects of Port Canaveral on sediment transport.
  • Impact on Marine Life. This project will have negative environmental impacts.
    1. The negative impacts of fill dumping projects are well established by many scientific studies.
    2. For example, in addition to directly burying all of the organisms on the reef, fill dumping buries other communities of organisms as well as the reef itself. This includes everything on the beach from mole crabs (sand fleas) to worms that live in the sand with feeding impacts on fish like Pompano, Whiting, Flounder, and Snook. Surf fishermen who fish for Pompano along our beaches knows that once beach ‘’nourishment’’ occurs there is little sense fishing that spot for at least a couple of years.
  • Effectiveness. Historically, fill dumping doesn’t work as well as claimed by proponents.
    1. Typically, the fill dumped onto the beach in these projects doesn’t match the natural sand. This can cause many problems.
      1. Wave and current action re-suspend the new fill into the water for many months or longer, causing chronic turbidity (the water becomes murky), which negatively impacts many organisms, and the surfing and fishing.
      2. The new fill is moved by waves and currents, which results in the burial of additional reef.
  • Artificial Reefs. Artificial reefs often don’t work as mitigation for shoreline reef burial.
    1. Since the new fill will be moved by waves and currents, it is highly likely the artificial reefs will be covered by sand, just the natural reef they are supposedly replacing.
    2. In addition to burial from the fill, many mitigation reefs simply scour and sink over time, or are moved from original locations by storms.
    3. It is very rare for artificial reefs to truly mimic natural reefs. Decades of scientific research on this is clear.
    4. Location, location, location.
      1. Building artificial reefs offshore will not provide the same benefits as the natural reefs closer to shore.
      2. The colonial reef-enhancing worms that grow on the shallow, natural reef won’t grow on the deeper artificial reefs. The estimate is 20% colonization is possible.

 

  • Fiscal Responsibility. This project is a waste of money.
    1. Thirty years of data reveal that the Mid-Reach beaches are naturally expanding! Thus, this project is a potential poster child for government waste.
    2. The Mid Reach beaches are in good shape. The Indian River Lagoon is not. A significant portion of the funds should be re-allocated to efforts to restore the IRL.

Although the project has begun (placement of the artificial reefs is under way), we will continue to attempt to improve or stop this project.

  1. We will monitor the current and future effects of this project.
  2. We recently endorsed a petition calling for a halt to the project and stand ready to join with individuals and organizations who share our commitment to sustaining the beauty, biodiversity, and many socio-cultural values of our coquina reef resources.
  3. You can view and sign the petition here: change.org: Save our reef-Brevard County.

Please continue to visit the Sebastian Inlet website to learn more.    We also invite you to attend our monthly meetings.  Please visit our Facebook page and become a friend to be notified of meetings and other events details.