The two permeable adjustable-type groins built behind The Islander Club in May are doing their job.
Public Works Director Juan Florensa told The Longboat Observer that the $1 million groins are holding the sand behind the two condominium towers.
“There is no question about it, you can see beach accumulation,” Florensa said. “They (the groins) are slowing the drifting of sand from the north to the south.”
Florensa says he’s not surprised the groins are working well to hold sand.
“We knew that was going to happen,” Florensa said. “We modeled the heck out of these things to make sure they would work.”
But exactly how much sand is accreting in the area is unknown.
The town, as part of its permit from the Department of Environmental Protection, will monitor the area for an entire year to see how much sand has been gained or lost in the area.
And the information the town collects will be critical to the future success of the groins.
Some residents of En Provence, which sits south of The Islander Club, claim the groins have taken away half of their beach, because sand that used to drift there is being held up by The Islander groins.
Although Florensa notes that the area has lost some sand, he says that the En Provence’s beach has not been reduced by half.
Town Manager Bruce St. Denis and Florensa said they are working with En Provence and other condominiums to address their concerns.
But neither official is thinks sand loss in the area is an issue.
“The bottom line is we have to wait until May 2011 to see how the groins are working,” Florensa said. “If they cause too much sand recession to the south in a year’s time, we can adjust the groins or put more sand out there to balance it out.”
The good news, Florensa said, is that the timing of the town’s next beach renourishment project in November 2011 could allow for more sand to be put in the area in a timely manner if needed.
“We don’t want these structures to rob sand farther south,” Florensa said. “That’s why we are monitoring them closely.”
Islander Club resident and Commissioner David Brenner has also closely monitored the situation.
What impresses Brenner the most is the accretion of sand that’s created a sandbar effect near the groins.
“I’m amazed at all of the new sand that’s accreting already,” Brenner said.
When the groins were first built, a beachgoer had to step on top of them to access the upper deck. But now, one can walk right onto the groins because the sand has filled in at the easternmost part of the structures.
The groins, which are now more accessible because of the extra sand, are a popular hangout for fishermen and birds.
“The bottom line is we clearly have more sand,” Brenner said.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at firstname.lastname@example.org.