450,000 cubic yards of sand replenish Patrick's beaches

New beach access crossovers were needed for safer access.

 

Patrick Space Force Base has renewed and replenished its beaches for better access following severe erosion.

About four miles of shoreline along the formerly named Patrick Air Force Base has been replenished with 450,000 cubic yards of sand pumped from shoals some five miles east of Cape Canaveral.

Some Patrick beaches also sport new beach crossovers constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as newly planted, dune-strengthening sea oats.

The fourth Patrick beach restoration effort since 1998 was part of a larger $48 million renourishment project that replenished the shoreline from Cocoa Beach to Sebastian Inlet.

Launched in 2019 as a partnership between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, the project spread 1.9 million cubic yards of sand dredged by California-based contractor The Dutra Group from an area known as Canaveral Shoals II. A hopper dredge delivered sand to the shore through a temporary pipeline, widening the beaches by about 60 feet.

After the Patrick beaches were widened in January, dredging work began on Brevard’s South Reach project area, which extends 3.8 miles from Flug Avenue in Indialantic to Spessard Holland Park. The Corps also widened the southern section of the county’s North Reach project area, primarily in Cocoa Beach between 2nd Street North and Patrick. Both projects were completed by April 30 to coincide with the start of sea turtle nesting season.

A separate emergency dune restoration project that added sand and sea oats to eroded beaches between Spessard Holland Park South and Sebastian Inlet State Park was completed in spring.

“These renourishment projects help maintain an area’s vitality and protect valuable infrastructure,” BOEM Deputy Director Walter Cruickshank said in a press release.

Department of Defense funds paid for the Patrick beach work while federal funds covered North Reach renourishment. Federal and county monies covered the South Reach project area as well as Mid Reach project work for Satellite Beach and Indian Harbour Beach that was completed in 2020.

Some Patrick beach parking areas were closed temporarily while workers rebuilt seven crossovers at five sites. One new walkway at Hangar Beach meets Americans With Disabilities Act requirements and has a ramp to the beach.

The new sand initially might have a different color and texture than the sand it replaced, but in time it will match existing sands. Officials said the sand should not interfere with sea turtle nesting.

Visitors’ recent Google reviews of popular Patrick beach sites were overwhelmingly favorable.

“Not real white, more light gray, but soft and nearly perfect for water fun and sun time,” Clint Massie wrote of sands at 2nd Light Beach.

“The sand was smooth and easy to walk in,” Tables Beach reviewer Anna Smith stated.