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Gusty winds ignite erosion concerns on the Treasure Coast

St. Lucie will need $2.5M for project this year
Posted at 7:04 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 23:34:18-04

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — High winds Wednesday brought some out to the beach to see the waves, forced others off the sand, and reignited concerns about beach erosion.

For Carm Nunno and his traveling party from Ontario, whipping winds were no bother at Jetty Park in Fort Pierce where kiteboarders soared.

"I was kiting here a few days ago and it was just awesome," said Nunno.

Mary Duckworth and Cathy Cain live just down the road from the park and came out to take a few pictures.

“We’re golfers so it’s not an ideal day to be out on the course," laughed Cain.

In preparation for this windy Wednesday, lifeguard towers at Bathtub Beach in Stuart were moved by crane away from the water onto the dunes.

"We’ve had some erosion last week so with the increased surf coming, we weren’t going to chance it," said Chief Brad Beckett with Martin County Ocean-Rescue.

Captain Paul Sperco used the opportunity to reel in some pompano.

“It’s a north wind front. They swim to the front. They swim to the direction of the wind," said Sperco.

In Juno Beach, Terry Crawford knew that when the winds got to be too much this afternoon, it was time to take grand kids Clay and Laurel home.

“It kept hurting my arms because it was blowing on me," said Laurel French, with some sand still stuck on her face.

The head of St. Lucie County Coastal Management Services Glenn Henderson says the problem of beach erosion is compounded after the county got word the federal government will not offer its usual support to fund beach renourishment next season.

A 7 and a half million dollar project was complete south of the Fort Pierce Inlet in 2018. Half of that sand is now gone.

“We have to an emergency project later this year and it will cost at least two and a half million dollars to do essentially a band-aid," said Henderson.

That money may come from higher taxes.

Some argue why spend money to keep putting out sand that eventually gets washed away.

“If we don’t do anything, buildings, roads, parks and important infrastructure along entire island could fall into the sea," said Henderson.