The idea of a sandless beach is nearly as impossible to conceive as a treeless forest. One defines the other ... unless you happened to live in Belleair Beach, Florida during the 1980's and 1990's.
Overdevelopment is not solely to blame. Along with the desire to live on the beach came a booming interest in boating. This meant that shallow passes had to be dredged and jetties built to keep them navigable.
The jetty accomplished its intended purpose of keeping the pass navigable for commercial and pleasure craft. However an unintended result showed up slowly over the next decade. The beaches to the South were losing sand!
To understand why, one has to understand the natural action of currents. Sand naturally moves up and down a beach in a pattern called the littoral drift. In the Summer along Florida's west coast, sand moves in a Northerly direction; in the Winter it moves back South.
There's some truth to the claim that the "sand comes and it goes." And that's how it always worked until the jetty was built. The natural rhythm of sand movement was interrupted by this man-made obstruction and within 15 short years, the sand no longer came back and had all but gone for good from the majority of the shoreline several miles south of the jetty.
In 1991, a small group of Belleair Beach residents, saddened and worried about the disappearing beach, formed a Task Force to study the erosion and find a solution. What followed was a 7 year struggle to restore the beach that involved many heated debates and much political wrangling. The resulting beach is proof that "Yes, You CAN Fight City Hall!"
You CAN Fight City Hall!"
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