Lately it has been evident that various beach areas on the island have suffered from extreme erosion. It is not taking years or months to notice the significant loss of beach areas, but the Town Council is embarking on a long-term project to reclaim beach areas and make them more beautiful. Studies are being conducted to identify key problems of erosion and where to target proper solutions that include scientific research, professional assessment and implementation of eco-friendly restoration and long-term solutions for our eroding shores.
Tacking beach erosion is not a simple task and the Town Council knows that restoring our shores cannot happen overnight. With the help of science, research, data collection and professional assistance, the Council hopes to provide a longterm solution to maintaining our shores. So don’t expect the Town Council to be dumping loads and loads of white sand on our beaches just yet; or dredging. One of the key missions at the moment is coming to understand the shoreline’s sediment pathway. You see, natural erosion takes place in seasons on the island; sand comes and goes, but human intervention sometimes causes sediments to go and not be replaced.
So where does the sediments come from? Where do they go? and How? These are the questions that need to be answered before we go dumping sand on our beaches. Identifying erosion patterns and external factors will enable us to restore the function of the beach, understand the importance of native plants and conduct seasonal beach nourishment (adding more sand at specific times).
All this technical stuff is currently taking place with the use of scientific research, data collection and even the use of drones. The San Pedro Business Strip has been identified to include a 1.2 mile stretch of beach that runs from Boca del Rio to Sunbreeze Hotel which will be included in Phase 1 of the beach restoration. Immediate action is currently taking place from Boca del Rio Park down to the beach in front of Caye Casa to include landscaping, beautification of the areas, preservation of mangroves and the addition of walkways and lights for locals to enjoy.
With proper studies, the project intends to create sargassum pick up points by strategically feeding the shore line with sand in key point to create currents that will direct the sargassum towards specific points. This would facilitate pick up by the Town Council.
San Pedro High School (SPHS pictured above) and Fido’s beach have been identified as demo sites for long term planning. The beach at SPHS will soon receive about 25 truck-loads of sand as part of an emergency beach nourishment. Movement of sediments will be studied for about a couple months to identify patterns of erosion. Access to traffic will be blocked off in front of SPHS during this experimental time.
Mayor Nunez says that the Town Council will keep residents updated with the upcoming projects of the first phase of beach restoration and hopes to work along with various businesses and beach property owners in this ambitions project.