Friday, April 19, 2024

Beach restoration project at Boca del Rio not affected by Hurricane Lisa


It has been over a week since Hurricane Lisa devastated sections of Belize City and surrounding areas. San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, and Caye Caulker were some of the places spared by the Category 1 storm. Besides torrential rains and wind, the hurricane put the Boca del Rio beach nourishment project to the test. The project is to tackle the erosion problem that is fast eating away at San Pedro beaches. According to the latest update from the beach reclamation program team, the beach was not phased by the torrential elements.
Currently, the project focuses on a demonstration site in front of the San Pedro High School along the Boca del Rio beach strip. This area needed immediate attention as it was rapidly eroding. On October 20th, the project began and involved dropping several loads of sand at the demonstration site. As part of the experiment, the sand piles were left to observe and understand how the shoreline’s sediments move and where they go. According to the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) team conducting the project, the ideal beach reclamation project will create beach areas along the coastline, eliminating any obstacles that can disturb the movement of sediments.
Following Hurricane Lisa on Wednesday, November 2nd, assessments were made to the site, and the SPTC reported that the project performed the way it was designed to work. The evaluations carried out by one of the project persons, Valentine Rosado, confirm that while other beaches around the island receded slightly due to the storm, the nourished beach showed a positive increase.
According to the analysis, the sand-nourished beach served as a first-line buffer, protecting the beach from further erosion during the storm surge. The storm’s wave action battered the piles of sand, but as Rosado explained, the beach is designed by nature to constantly shift with the incoming wave turbulence and nearshore currents. As the sand shifted from the wave action, it extended the beach. The natural movement sees sand shifting and settling.
The beach reclamation program will continue at this site to provide scientific results that will support the restoration process for the entire Boca del Rio beach stretch, which extends through Central Park and ends by the local library.

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