The value of beach renourishment goes far beyond the dollars

Hurricane Hermine blasted Honeymoon Island
Posted at 6:44 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-13 18:44:11-04

The glassy, clear waters on Honeymoon Island almost make up for the scar Hurricane Hermine left behind.

Just how bad is the beach erosion? The beach itself is an island.

"I don't like it," says Katherine Hausmann, who was here before Hermine. "We came back today and we cant even get through we're so upset," she says.

Hurricane Hermine chewed up the brand new $4.5 million beach re-nourisment project on Honeymoon Island.

And it could have been much worse. Jetty like structures called T-groins were installed during the last re-nourishment project. They help break up the wave energy. Without them, the beach erosion would have  been much more severe.

But the true value of the sand is more than just a tourist attraction.

"When people hear the price tag of the beach what might they be missing," I ask Dr. John Bishop, a coastal manager with Pinellas County.

"The damage that would have occurred had the beach not been there," Dr. Bishop says. "The true value of a beach is seen in the habitat it provides for shore birds, sea turtles, native plants, but also the protection it provides for the infrastructure, the homes the roads along the shoreline." 

 The beach erosion extends south to Indian Rocks Beach. Before and after pictures show the dunes were wiped out. Coastal managers say if you don't rebuild them, the next storm will be much worse in term of damage.

In the business of sand,what mother nature gives, she eventually takes back.