Multi-million dollar renourishment project underway at Bathtub Beach in Martin County

Posted at 5:16 PM, Mar 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-17 21:01:32-04

It's one of the highlights of Martin County, but as beautiful as it is now, Lois Zilai remembers when Bathtub Beach was even better.

“It was so low and so shallow, that the kids would have a wonderful time out there,” Zilai says.

Over the years, erosion has changed that.

“It seems like every couple of years they try to replenish, and Mother Nature keeps coming in and taking everything away again,” she says.

In fact, the beach just underwent a $5.3 million renourishment project in 2016 - and it made a huge difference.

Hurricane Matthew blew through and damaged about 25% of that.

Now engineers are going back in once again.

“We now have the opportunity to repair the hurricane damage and get it done before turtle nesting season,” says county engineer Don Donaldson.

The majority of the $2.6 million project - about 75% - is funded by FEMA.

The agency is stepping in to fund beach communities hit hard by Matthew.

It's funding places like Vero Beach can use since there is an estimated $13 million in damage to beaches there.

Donaldson says any money put into renourishment is an investment into the future, as the aftermath of Matthew showed.

“We didn't have any damage to our roads, homes did not suffer any damage. So the beach did its job,” Donaldson says.

Lois knows Bathtub will likely regain that original beauty.

“It’s a constant battle, unfortunately,” she says.

She does realize every project helps it retain the beauty it still has left. “If they weren't doing this, we probably would be over in the parking lot right now.”

During the project, partial beach closures will be in place, but most of the beach will remain open. 

Work is expected to be completed by May 1st.

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