Restoring eroded beaches

Published On: Mar 30 2012 12:50:06 PM EDT
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Voices
MIAMI -

I am proud to represent South Florida and a district that is home to 265 miles of some of the most pristine coastline in the United States of America. From Bal Harbor down to the Keys, millions of people come to our shores each year to enjoy the sun, surf and sand.

Recently, work began to restore some highly eroded portions of Miami Beach from 63rd to 69th Street. The severely eroded beaches in Miami Beach are vital natural defenses from wind and flood damage caused by tropical storms and hurricanes. Beach erosion stems from a natural drift of sand from north to south. Significant property damage and losses could occur if the beaches are not re-nourished and infrastructure becomes susceptible to hurricane damage.

This segment, one of three in the area, will lay approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sand about and should be completed by April 2012. The remaining sections are expected to be completed by November 2012.

I was glad to be there to witness firsthand the great project get under way. As you know, our beaches are critically important to the economy of South Florida, with over 90,000 residents and millions of annual visitors each year. In fact Miami Beach, a seven-square mile international tourist destination,generates over $7 billion in annual economic activity and contains over $25 billion worth of private property.

These beaches are an invaluable protection from the hurricanes that periodically ravage our coast.  This effort will not only provide future storm protection but will also provide for better beach access for the local community and tourists.

I continue to work closely with the Army Corps of Engineers to make sure these vital re-nourishment projects are accomplished in a timely manner. After these three sections are completed, the next construction contract will occur in the Bal Harbour area in the vicinity of 96th Street and is expected to start in early 2013.

Our South Florida beaches are critical to reducing storm damage and protecting economic livelihoods and our environment.

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