|The Official website of City Government||.|
Smathers Beach Renourishment Project (5-11-00)
City of Key West will be performing beach-tilling operations Friday and
Saturday, May 12 and 13. The beach
tilling operation, which will be done annually, is a process of softening the
top 36 inches of sand in order to create the best environment for turtles to
nest according to Annalise Mannix-Lachner, Manager of Engineering Services.
lay eggs between 24 and 36 inches below ground.
"Prior to the Smathers Beach renourishment project, the average
depth of sand was six inches," Mannix-Lachner said. "The addition of a 36-inch cover of 'turtle-friendly'
sand provides a quality nesting habitat."
Smathers Beach Renourishment Project design was based on meeting the goal of
building a 50-year beach while minimizing environmental impacts and enhancing
the beach for turtle nesting. The
sand chosen for the beach is a larger grain size sand that is not expected to
wash far over the construction toe of fill according to Mannix-Lachner.
This should minimize silt resting in seagrass beds and on coral reefs.
The sand was mined then sifted and washed five times to remove silt.
Mannix-Lachner noted that this time consuming process caused the price of
installed sand to be $43 per cubic
yard. Due to the high cost of sand
the east end of the beach was reduced in size to stay within the project budget.
Early visual inspections indicate the sand stayed in place and turbidity
was minimal. "There is more
turbidity on a windy day than when the sand was being placed,"
turtles that arrive on the beach have been designated "false crawl"
indicating that they come and leave without depositing eggs, often after digging
numerous holes. Scientists believe
mothers instinctively know not to leave the nest shallow so creatures of prey
will not disturb it. "The
state has been anxiously awaiting our renourishment project so that the turtles
arriving have a safe place to lay their eggs," Mannix-Lachner stated. The project was designed so that all beach work would be
completed prior to May 1, 2000, in time for state and federal turtle-nesting
order to get a fifty-year beach that enhances turtle nesting the sand was placed
to an elevation of seven feet above sea level, which is three to four feet above
the sidewalk level. The city
elevated the sea wall and placed walkovers for access.
project construction cost was budgeted and funded at $2,407,000.
Bids came in at $3,014,000. "To
avoid a cost overrun we had to reduce some aspect of the project,"
Mannix-Lachner said. "The
volume of sand was reduced and two groins and landscaping were deleted."
The city is currently requesting additional grant funding from the state
of Florida to complete the landscaping portion.
The temporary sand fence was installed to stop the sand from blowing onto the road until the dune plantings are completed.
FACTS SINCE 1991
Other turtles nesting in Key West - 2, Patio Beach 7-10-94, Casa Marina 6-10-93
Crawls (turtles chose not to nest) on Smathers - 10
Earliest Nest (over the last ten years) - June 5