Monday, July 22, 2024

SPTC initiates demonstration project to restore severely eroded beaches


The time to start saving the beaches in downtown San Pedro is now. On Thursday, October 20th, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) began a beach restoration demonstration project at a section in Boca del Rio. The area in front of the San Pedro High School has severely eroded, and access to this short stretch of beach will remain closed to vehicular traffic. The public is asked to respect the signage erected.
The results of this project will determine the next step aimed at a long-term solution and saving the beach. The SPTC and the experts behind the project have indicated that the process is complex and will take some time before results can be observed. The works at this stretch of beach are being done to allow nature to do its part and trigger a natural expansion of the beach.
The first step is to dump sand on the targeted beach area. The sand being used has been carefully selected to match that of the said beach portion and collected without altering the environment. Once the sand is placed on the beach, the next step is to observe and understand how the shoreline’s sediments move and where they go. The ideal beach reclamation project will see the creation of beach areas along the coastline, eliminating any obstacles that can disturb the movement of sediments.
One person involved in the project is local scientist Valentine Rosado. He said this method would further inform the team of experts monitoring the erosion process of the beach and if the same technique can be applied to other areas of the shoreline. He emphasized that it is not a quick fix, but initial works are expected to provide the missing pieces of the puzzle to address the alarming threat to the island’s beaches. The grand spectrum of the project is to successfully rehabilitate the beach from the Boca del Rio beach park to the Sunbreeze Hotel, a bit over a mile in length.
The SPTC and their team are optimistic about this approach to restoring significant portions of beaches that have been lost. Over the past years, the improper management of the shoreline, particularly along the downtown area, has seen the sea eating away the beaches. Coconut trees are collapsing on the water’s edge, and beach areas like Boca del Rio have narrowed significantly. Some of the culprits have been identified as the inadequate building of seawalls, docks and climate change.
The SPTC is financing this first test in the Boca del Rio area. To complete the project, the local administration looks forward to getting support from the Green Climate Fund and partnering with stakeholders operating on the said beach strip.

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