Beach erosion has been a problem in South Florida at least since the Army Corps of Engineers created the Intracoastal Waterway last century. Under natural circumstances, winds and waves push sand down the coast, gently and perpetually southward. But wherever there's a man-made jetty that interrupts the coastline and provides an opening for boats to go in and out between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal -- like at Port Everglades, for instance -- the sand gets trapped on the north side of the pass, and the south side gets starved for sand.
According to an e-mail from Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober, his city's beaches are now "eroding at an ever-alarming rate." (Even though they were just renourished -- for $23.8 million -- in 2005.) His efforts to fix the problem are pitting him in a battle with the city of Fort Lauderdale over whose sand is whose. And the County may have to decide which of its bickering children gets its way.
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You see, the Broward County Commission has drafted plans for a sand bypass project. Workers would dig a big basin on the north side of the jetty. Over time, sand would deposit there, and every three years it would be dug up, carried across the jetty, and dumped on the south side, at John U. Lloyd State Park, free to continue its gradual journey down the coast.
Thing is, Bober says, the greedy people of Fort Lauderdale see it as Hooolywoodians stealing their sand. "In short," he wrote, "our Fort Lauderdale elected official counterparts are getting an earful from their residents who believe that we are trying to 'take' their sand, so we simply have more. Truth be told, OUR sand is not getting to OUR beaches, because Port Everglades is blocking the natural flow of sand southward. Period."
Bober suggested that County Commissioners Keechl and Rodstrom -- who have constituents on Fort Lauderdale's beaches -- could try to block the sand bypass project. He rallied his residents to commence a letter-writing campaign to the Commission. Bober did not return calls.