Breakwaters are NOT the Solution

Singer Island, FL (March 22, 2011)– Palm Beach County Commission voted 5-2 today to have Environmental Resource Management (ERM) withdraw its 1.1 mile permit to construct breakwaters offshore of Singer island. The $30-50 million project, would have involved the construction of 11 limestone and granite structures placed in 12 feet of water, designed to dissipate beach erosion.
Because of the downfalls in project planning and design, the Palm Beach County Commissioners have requested staff to drop its permit seeking to install these breakwaters off the coast of Singer Island and no longer continue the pursuit of other county breakwater projects. The breakwaters are a significant threat to the geological and biological coastal systems, would adversely affect sea turtle nesting and increase down drift erosion, and are a beachfront subsidy that taxpayers would have to pay for. The proposed breakwaters would have been the largest of its kind in Florida. This type of breakwater structure has been unsuccessfully implemented in the Miami area (32nd Street), and has caused serious erosion problems for beaches south of the structures.

“Surfrider Foundation has been actively opposed to this project for six years and will continue to actively engage with agencies and the county when it comes to beach management decisions. Structures are harmful to the environment and have dangerous side-effects that were not adequately addressed by ERM or their engineers. Ultimately this is not a fiscally responsible solution, especially when public money is being used to protect private property,” stated Greg Lyon, chair of Surfrider Foundation Palm Beach County.

Per the previous ACOE’s analysis of the permit application and design by Humiston & Moore Engineers, it was determined that the breakwaters would be harmful to sea turtle nesting, reduce the survival rate of sea turtle hatchlings, destroy valuable hard bottom breeding grounds for fish populations, would have created a hazard for swimmers and boaters, and would accelerate erosion to beaches south of the project. “We hope that our state agencies will use these examples as to why such structures should not be considered as an acceptable management strategy along our coastline,” stated Todd Remmel, Vice-Chair of Surfrider Foundation Palm Beach County.

About Surfrider Foundation
The Palm Beach County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is a grassroots, 501(c)(3) non-profit, environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our oceans, waves, and beaches, for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education.