Innovative Technologies

Submerged Bar Beach Nourishment

The Board of County Commissioners authorized a study on November 17, 2008 to consider whether the placement of relatively modest quantities of sand nourishment in shallow nearshore water may be an economically feasible alternative for constructing a limited-scale shore protection project, with the intent being that such shallow-water sand placement might provide shore protection (sand renourishment) while being less impactive to marine turtle nesting behavior (nesting success) and may incidentally result in temporary augmentation of a surf break. The study specifically considered the South Beaches shoreline of Brevard County and concluded the following. Nearshore placement of sand should be limited to pre-project depths less than -22.5 ft Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) in order that the sand is of benefit to the littoral system. Sand placement in depths less than -14 to -16 ft is of greater benefit, with placement in depths less than -10 to -12 ft being most ideal. The study (download here) concluded that it is potentially feasible and cost effective to require placement of at least half of the sand in water depths less than -16 to -14 ft; but it is probably neither feasible nor economically feasible to require that all of the sand be placed shallower than -16 to -14 ft depths, relative to on-beach placement.

A state permit has been issued to Brevard County for a pilot scale Submerged Bar Project spanning roughly 9,200 feet of beach between Spessard Holland South and Coconut Point beach parks. A funding source or schedule for this project have not yet been determined, however securing the state permit is a crucial first step to allow possible construction of this unique project in the future.

Multi-Purpose Surf Reef Feasibility Study

In response to significant community interest, Brevard County commissioned a feasibility study for constructing multi-purpose surfing reefs to reduce beach erosion, improve surfing conditions and increase associated recreational opportunities. Study results were presented to the public on November 19, 2008 at the Viera Government Center.

Presenters included Michael Walther, P.E. of Coastal Tech, with over 30 years experience in coastal engineering and management in Florida and Mike Slotkin, PhD of Praecipio EFS, an economic, financial and statistical consulting firm. Coastal Tech led a collaborative effort of five firms to examine the engineering and economic aspects of the proposed project. Additional firms who contributed to this study include ASR America, Continental Shelf Associates, and Surfbreak Engineering Sciences.

The study began with a literature review of all existing surf reefs constructed or under construction. The literature was supplemented with interviews of people in Australia, New Zealand, England and California who were directly involved in the planning, design, construction and/or management of similar innovative reefs.

Coastal Tech led the team in identifying and ranking optimal reef locations in Brevard County. A reef configuration, refined by ASR America, was selected by the team for the purpose of analyzing its potential for Brevard County. Surfbreak Engineering performed a wave analysis to predict the number of additional surfing days per year that could be generated by the reef. Continental Shelf provided a preliminary assessment of environmental impacts pertinent to federal and state permitting requirements. ASR America contributed to an opinion of probable costs; Coastal Tech estimated erosion control benefits; and Praecipio analyzed recreational benefits. Coastal Tech concluded with a Benefit/Cost analysis and review of federal and state cost-share eligibility. Based on the study results, it is Coastal Tech’s professional opinion that A multipurpose artificial surfing reef for Brevard County is not economically justified and is not expected to qualify for state or federal cost share.

The cost of the team’s engineering analysis was split between the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners and an innovative technology grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Praecipio’s assessment of recreational benefits was financed with marketing funds from the Brevard County Tourist Development Council.