Tuesday, October 31, 2006

scraping trash into the foredunes

This morning I received a great pdf document from our city manager that explains very clearly and concisely how dunes are formed and how they re-build after a storm. I found this really interesting and have put it up on my server so that anyone else who is interested can read it as well. (click here)
One of the most eye-opening sections comes toward the end, when the author talks about beach scraping as a totally ineffective way to build dunes - a practice that breaks down more than it builds up. That a community would scrape on a daily basis for purely aesthetic purposes when there isn't hardly anything to scrape and no people to view a spotless beach seems so preposterous as to not to even have occurred to him/her.

This is the off-season. There is very little debris washing up and few people to mind what little seaweed is there. And yet, the beach tractors are making daily, multiple passes, scraping wide swaths of already-clean beach. For what purpose? Do we not have better uses for the manpower? the equipment costs? the fuel????

Even worse, these tractors are picking up litter and burying it in the foredunes where it will be ugly, harmful to wildlife and difficult to extract for months/years/decades. As this photo I snapped just this morning clearly shows.

If we really love our beach and really hate litter, we will get these city workers off their tractor seats and on the ground with trashbags. Beach scraping should occur only when there is massive amounts of material washing up and lots of people here trying to enjoy the beach.





Blogger Sam said...

Yay Sandy I was wondering if you'd post a link to what the TM sent this morning. Thanks!

In defense of our town fathers (and mothers?!?) the beach is the crown jewel of SPI, so cleaning it is a great idea in the high season. The emphasis should be on the word "clean" firstmost, however, like removing the plastic and waste products before doing any tractor raking.

I can't fathom why, as we approach November, our slowest time of year, Public Works would even be out raking on the beach. Don't they have some dune walk-overs to fix, as well as constructing the government vehicle crossing at your access Neptune?

Shouldn't the the Town be planning for dune enhancements where and when it makes sense? Um, wasn't a "continuous dune line" an agreed concept?

And hey, isn't is the time of year to plant dune grasses and forbs? Sure, Spring might be better up in the Carolinas but have you seen how healthy the existing dune vegetation is lately?

I feel even more empowered to help, like designing dunes, making plans for Christmas tree dune-makers, and taking to account the wonderful information in that report. Thanks again. /Sammy

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so I guess forward that question to Mr. Morales and ask for an answer or come to the BOA meeting and ask in the public comments.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Oh now that's a sensitive thing, anon. I asked Cliff Rowell about that during a Bay Area meeting and he said that the best course of action was up through the BOA and then down through the Town Manager.

I will not say anything bad, other than the Public Works director has a very skinny budget, lost some employees, and is perhaps playing a game of catch-up. He's really trying.

When I inquired further, it became evident that the town construction permit staff has ten times the power as Public Works, even though they share the same function and public service. So there you have it, the permits crew is like the gladiator highliners and Public Works is like the scum-bottom of the barrell, worse than a kissing cousin. And that is truly unfortunate.

So take it all the way to the top is my suggestion. /Sam

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it is best to get an alderman sponsor on most anything, giving it public exposure is not a bad tactic either.

7:50 AM  
Blogger nancy said...

I'm on the Beach and Dune Task Force and it is our duty to make recommendations to the board. The City's Beach and Dune Plan specifically states that one of its goals is a continuous dune. Therefore it is the committee's responsibility to make a continued effort towards obtaining this goal. I will request that it be added to the agenda at each meeting. I think our committee should recommend that changes be made in the way they are dumping trash into the foredunes. Since this where the turtles nest the last thing we want in there is dangerous trash -- like glass bottles, rusting pipes, fishing nets, etc.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Thanks Nancy. Lori and I took a ride up to the Tiki, off White Sand Street I think it is called. Our purpose was to check on the status of the beach.

Well folks, there ain't no beach! It is solid gone. Public Works had obviously scopped up some black sand onto the retaining walls so they wouldn't be undercut, full of trash as usual, but the beach was nada, nothing, solid gone. The water was up to the edge of the paved road (no drive-over there for the guv'mint vehicle either).

In hindsight, Lori and I were glad we didn't buy a house on the street last year, since we were about to put money down on a nice one. But something told me that that spot on the Island was a "hurricane blow hole" and heavily eroded.

To my knowledge, the Town (with EDC and GLO and Corps and Engineers) never renourished any beaches up there - where it is truly needed.

If I owned land up between the Bahia Mar and The Shores I'd be pretty darned nervous. /Sam

9:34 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

If you're talking about the county parks (Atwood, other county access points north of Access #5), that can be a complicated thing. Perhaps it is the way GLO funds some of the beach cleaning and raking. That's an interesting idea to see if both the town and county can work together on parts of it. Just remember we've got a few banana republics down here!

11:07 AM  

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