Florida's sand stash has almost dried up.
Due to decades of erosion, there is a dwindling supply of sand. Officials are fighting to re-fill their tourist beaches. They are looking into multiple plans.
Sand mines, recycled glass and importing the grainy gold are some of the options being considered.
This isn't a new problem. Many coastal communities have used reclaimed sand to repair storm damaged beaches.
The issue though is that the continental shelf is so narrow along southern Florida that just about all of the usable sand has already been taken. Broward and Miami-Dade counties are looking to northern counties for help.
But the northern counties are telling the southern ones to go fish.
“What happens in 50 years when all that sand is gone?” Frannie Hutchinson, a St. Lucie County commissioner, asked. “Where are we supposed to go then? I told them to take their sand shovels and sand buckets and go home and come up with a better plan.”
So authorities have had to think outside the sand box to solve the dilemma.
Broward County is using sand mines in the state's interior. They are trucking sand in, despite the higher cost. The problem is, it's not a long-term solution.
would be 20,000 trucks going through South Beach in tourist season, so
you can imagine that?” Jason Harrah, project manager, Army Corps of
Another idea is to grind glass back down into sand. But this is expensive. It's a process that is already used for sand traps at golf courses.
And finally, another idea is to buy sand from other Caribbean countries. But in order to do this, the Army Corp of Engineers must prove no more domestic sand is available for either economic or environmental reasons.
But one thing is for sure… Florida needs sand for the Florida beaches.