Brevard beaches damaged by Hurricane Sandy to get new sand

By Jerry Hume, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, May 27, 2013, 12:45 PM EDT

We're less than a week away from a new hurricane season.

In Brevard County, they're still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s erosion from last year.

Plans are in the works to replenish the beaches with new sand, but that has stirred up controversy.

“That sand is coarser than the sand that would naturally exist on our beach and it’s not a good match for our beach,” said John Hearin,

Vice Chairman of the Cocoa Beach Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

The Army Corps announced a nearly $30 million project to fix beaches that saw erosion from Hurricane Sandy.

The corps will get the sand from an offshore site known as the Canaveral Shoals.

They previously used it in 2001 and 2005.

Hearin, who has a doctorate in ocean engineering and has lived in Cocoa Beach for 28 years, said that sand is coarse and has created steeper beaches in the past.

“When you have a steeper beach, you have a higher likelihood of rip current activity,” Hearin told News 13.

He also said that coarser sand hurts surfing, forcing waves to break closer to the shore.

He said it takes 10 years for the beach to return to its flatter, natural state.

The Surfrider Foundation said instead, the corps should use natural sand from just north of Port Canaveral to replenish the beaches on Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral.

But the Army Corps of Engineers is standing by their sand.

“This material has been determined by the county, State FDEP and USACE to be compatible with the native beach sand. There is no credible evidence that past re-nourishments have caused any adverse impacts to swimmer safety or the quality of waves for surfing,” said Amanda Ellison, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

It would take an act of Congress to get the corps to change sand.

The Surfrider Foundation knows that and instead wants the county to fund a surf impact study to look at the impacts the sand will have on Brevard beaches.

The mayors of Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral told News 13 they’re just glad the Army Corp is funding the multi-million dollar project.

The Army Corps of Engineers will begin work on the beaches after Nov. 1, when turtle nesting season ends.