Martin County recently completed a project to replace sand on Bathtub Beach on the east coast of Florida. Beach renourishment includes the dumping or pumping of sand from elsewhere (i.e., sand borrow sites) onto an eroding beach often to widen the existing beach and protect public and private property. This beach renourishment operation included the dredging of flood shoal and navigation channel sand borrow areas and the placement of sand along a one-mile stretch of beach just north of the St. Lucie Inlet.
Because the beach renourishment process may affect wildlife, monitoring is required to ensure that protected plants and animals are not harmed during the construction process and that their habitat is not severely affected with the beach alterations. For this project, EAI continuously monitored the beach for sea turtles at night to ensure no impacts to nesting. In addition, EAI performed turbidity monitoring of the borrow area and beach sites during construction. During beach nourishment operations, the suspension of disturbed sediments increases temporary and localized turbidity which can affect the behavior and physiological functions of fishes and invertebrates.