Just In: Protecting SoWal's Precious Coastal Dune Lakes
Protecting SoWal's Precious Coastal Dune Lakes
Submitted by Dwight Williams on 07/15/10
Walton County takes matters into its own hands…
It now seems like a lifetime ago.
The news was bad and utterly unexpected. In late April, a few days after the Deepwater Horizon rig sank, Walton County officials were told that “in 72 hours our beaches would look like a paved parking lot,” recalled Captain Mike Barker of...
07-20-2010, 07:47 AM #2
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
- Eastern Lake Est., SoWal, FL
I'm not sure that more collateral damage is being done to the coastal dune lakes than if nothing had been done. The massive amount of sand brought in, tractors all over the beach and now big drainage pipes are questionable in my opinion. Many people who know about the coastal dune lakes have some serious concerns about this. Doing something just to be doing something might not be the right answer. Good sound bite, but without good teeth.
I've been here for hurricanes and seen the tide surge come in to the coastal dune lakes. Even that big pile of sand or huge berms would not have stopped a tide surge filled with tar balls from coming in to the coastal dune lakes. For instance, there are many points of entry into the lakes from storm surge, not just through the outfall. It comes in around houses, through carport passages, through areas where primary sand dunes have been removed, down driveways, roads and access points, etc. So, this focus of building these berms will prove worthless and expensive. A soft sand berm 20 feet high down the 26 miles of our beaches would also not only be extremely harmful in a number of ways, it would not be effective in the event of a storm. Now, if we have a storm, where will all that sand go? It may look and sound good, but it will most likely not work and just make things worse. Where will those big pipes end up? What about the feeding patterns of local fish and wildlife being disturbed? What about the natural flow of water in and out of the lake being disturbed?
Such aggressive action was not necessary or warranted in my opinion. If large amounts of oil had been present near a coastal dune lake, and it was open, then with more interaction with lake experts, something less intrusive could have been done. Most lakes have small enough openings in many cases, at that point some sand could have been used to close as a last option. Other methods might have been considered in stopping the tar balls such as nets or erosion fences, etc.
The sooner we can get rid of those big sand piles and get the pipes, tractors, backhoes, etc. out of the lakes the better. Those having to deal with this are good people and are probably doing the best they can with orders and circumstances thrust upon them. I just feel strongly enough about this that I must comment (a few earlier posts to bring some of these points forward were made). What works on the farm may not necessarily work on the beach. I have heard many people say they are not happy with this and seriously question it as the best and appropriate solution. Consideration should be given in retracting this action. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express an opinion here. Respectively submitted.
I, on the other hand, believe that the preventive berm was a necessary action that needed to be done. If left open, the chances of getting oil into the lakes would have been 100%. We are just near the beginning of the possible intrusion of oil, and there is plenty of possibility that it could get much worse.
Dwight: I like your writing. The term "a bramble of agencies" will stick in my mind forever.My mind tends to wander... but fortunately, it's so weak, it doesn't get very far...
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