Study on Geotubes in Texas

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by Dave Rauschkolb, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. TooFarTampa

    TooFarTampa SoWal Insider

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    Excellent post Bob. I agree with all of it. I was thinking about the folly of building on these dunes the other day, while visiting a barrier island just north of Captiva. I was struck by the logic of the gulf-front structures -- built far back from the water, with walkovers leading the way over the small, low dune system. The homes are high on stilts, which would allow storm surge to theoretically run under the buildings. A major hurricane might rearrange the beach, yes, but the land where the buildings are is not going to disappear, since the surge would just run over the island, carve out new passes perhaps, and yes maybe knock over the buildings -- but one could rebuild.

    In SoWal the high dunes/bluff system protects the vast majority of houses from storm surge or even needing flood insurance, but those waves have to go somewhere, and as we have seen they will just dig into chunks of the land and wash it away. I think in the building frenzy the county and state officials just didn't consider the unique nature of the coastline in SoWal and the ridiculousness of allowing these buildings to be perched so close to the dune line. It all starts with zoning, and yes the county and state are at fault here, and the only fair thing is to have the state buy out the people whose land may become unbuildable.

    Blaming the individual gulf front owners for owning and building on the gulf is pointless. Most people who buy such homes have never given a thought to the nature of the coastline. They just want their slice of paradise. The people who need to have the understanding of the laws of nature are those who have allowed the development in the first place.
     
  2. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    At a very low price? :dunno:
     
  3. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    SJ,

    I've finally figured it all out. No need for this thread or other threads to continue any longer.

    I'm buying up all first tier property not already owned by ecopal, Bob, TooFarTampa and the like that I can afford.

    Then I will join their crusade and have all GF properties demolished.

    Then "our" first tier properties will obviously become VERY valuable. I'm sure nobody thought of that one!! ;-)

    BUT......

    Then in about 15 years (with all the supposedly heightened hurricane activity predictions), the bluffs will collapse back to the edge of these properties as well.

    Then when all their children (ecopal junior, Bob junior, TooFarTampa junior, Bdarg junior, etc.) inherit the properties they will become the BMBV of tomorrow. Does anyone want their children to be me tomorrow? :lol:

    Where does it stop?

    The line in the sand has been drawn (by a bunch of surveyors directed by county, state and federal government agencies).

    Retaining walls have deservedly received bad press as of a result of their installation in places where even I agree there are serious issues. Can anyone spell BARRIER ISLANDS? I'm certain there are other scenarios where they should not be applied.

    BUT no one has shown me as of today how a retaining wall will impact OUR AREA of HIGH BLUFFS. Most are guessing. I still look at the video from Hurricane Dennis and just imagine how much of a non-event this hurricane would have been if the retaining wall was in place preventing the constant cutting of the bluff by relatively small wave after small wave. It was just the storm surge was just high enough that the waves were able to reach the base of our BLUFF and chop it down and chop it down and chop it down....

    It reminds me of a small chain saw taking down a Great Oak by methodically cutting into the base.

    But maybe the video and my eyes deceive me and just about everyone else who has seen it.

    I have promised to get pgurney a copy (I don't know him personally). His very objective approach to the entire matter impressed me. I will ask him for his honest take of what he sees. I really don't want to publicly circulate the video quite yet however.

    I will ask him if he sees the same reflected wave action occurred on natural BLUFFS that I do. I will ask him his opinion on the intensity and speed of the waves that were coming ashore. I will the ask him if he thinks a retaining wall would have caused more significnant energy reflection than what I see in the video of waves reflecting off the bluffs.

    I don't and never will imply that retaining walls help the "repair" process of the beach.

    So, the real question is will a retaining wall in OUR AREA of HIGH BLUFFS actually make the HIGH BLUFF erosion worse than what we've already seen?

    There's probably going to be more documentary on this subject than Carter has liver pills.

    As a few have said, time will tell.

    PLEASE let me throw this out AGAIN.....
    Beach armoring is not permanent. I've said it before... The Hoover Dam IS PERMANENT. If it is shown without a doubt that retaining walls are really screwing things up that not even nourishment can fix, well they can be taken out a heck of lot faster than they went in. Again, they are not permanent. Maybe the DEP permit is.

    Let's give them (and us) a chance in OUR UNIQUE AREA OF HIGH BLUFFS (there's not much choice otherwise at least for the coming season).

    The worse that can happen is they work!! :D Just kidding for some of you smilie challenged observers!! I'm also kidding about about "smilie challenged observers". Can't assume everyone has a sense of humor, some times!
     
  4. GVM

    GVM Beach Lover

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    PLEASE let me throw this out AGAIN.....
    Beach armoring is not permanent. I've said it before... The Hoover Dam IS PERMANENT. If it is shown without a doubt that retaining walls are really screwing things up that not even nourishment can fix, well they can be taken out a heck of lot faster than they went in. Again, they are not permanent. Maybe the DEP permit is.

    Just a quick question: If the structures are temporary, when will they be removed? Thanks.
     
  5. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    That sounds really nice, but why would those properties be desirable if there is no beach to enjoy after the storms remove all of the sand?

    I don't need to see the video, I was watching it happen live in person. Sure, the dune system which you call bluffs reflect the waves washing out the sand with it. It is well documented. However, there is a big difference between having a flexible and changing natural sand wall reflecting the water and having a solid, inflexible barrier reflecting the waves. If a wall cannot give (flex), that water will be reflected at a much more forceful rate, taking much more sand with it.

    Also, the natural shore line is not a straight line, which makes it more absorbant in some places, thereby not allowing as strong of one big solid reflection of a wave going back to sea. It is easy to test my thought of this. No different that the technology used to design the radar absorbing designs of the Stealth Bomber. The variations in the materials are designed to absorb the waves thereby diminishing the reflection of those waves. A solid straight-line wall will definitely take out more beach than a moving dune system. Unfortunately for GF property owners, there is that cost of potentially losing all of one's property if nature is allowed to exist uniterrupted by Man.

    If you are not implying that, are you implying that building the seawalls is detrimental to the beach?

    I disagree. The Hoover Dam is not permanent. You think too much in the short term. ;-)

    Do we have a choice in the matter? You don't see me lying in front of the track hoe, do you?

    I see by your smilie that you are kidding, but I get the feeling that you are more serious than you disguise. Please share with me your thoughts of the worst case scenerio you can imagine could result from the construction of the seawalls in Blue Mtn Bch.
     
  6. pgurney

    pgurney Beach Fanatic

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    Smiling Joe gives a good description of what a lot of the literature says: hardened structures reflect more energy and increase beach erosion. On the other hand, the Corps of Engineers says that there is not sufficient data to support the idea that seawalls cause additional erosion. However, everyone in the literature seems to agree that seawalls prevent the dune systems from naturally nourishing the beaches and beaches disappear in front of seawalls without consistent artificial beach renourishment.

    IMO If we're going to have seawalls and we want to keep the beaches, the state needs to approve an on-going beach renourishment program. Sources of quality sand should be identified and quantified on a regular programmatic basis so when the need arises it doesn't take 2 to 3 years to find the sand and get approval. I don't know about the affordability of this, but I personally don't see any other way if seawalls stay in our future.

    The other option is to let the GF properties be expendable. I don't really see that happening, but who knows. It has in other states that prohibit seawalls.

    I've continued to read up on the subject as time allows and am finding that there are no simple solutions. There are high costs attached to everything. Wow, earth shattering news right?

    Hmmm, no time for further writing....I'm off for a new beach do and to Nordstrom's to pick up some Trish mascara and maybe some new sandals cuz I'm on my way down tomorrow!!! :D
     
  7. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    You know what? I don't know. Yep... I don't know. But at a minimum, they'll exist all through "turtle season" and if removed, will be done so next winter.

    This subject came up before several times. All retaining walls are temporary until they receive approval from DEP (or are at least in the process of reviewing the applications that must be sent within 60 days after the completion of the wall). The problem is I don't know what's going to happen if and when some of the applications are denied.

    I really would not want to be in the middle of that scenario. All this stuff has already taken a financial toll on any of us. Don't need anymore surprises (such as being ordered to remove my retaining wall).

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    I like the easy handouts :D .... So you're implying that even if there are no retaining walls erected, and nature takes its past and current course, that even after the bluff has receded 50 to 100 more feet, that current GF structures are destroyed and removed, that there may not be any beach left to make the newly 1st tier properties (turned gulf front) desirable?

    If so, you're insinuating (maybe unintentionally) that bluffs are no worse than retaining walls as there will be no beach left either way.

    If your statement is a sucker punch, I'm already whincing !! :lol:



    Saw it first hand? GF property owner? Hmmm. ;-) You crazy too? I thought only my video camera operator was the only nutty one to watch a hurricane approach. JUST KIDDING !!! Kind of wished I was here when it happened as well.

    Perhaps (regarding reflecting wave intensity of a solid structure vs. bluff). But as I see it from the video, (IMHO) we're talking shades of grey not quantum differences regarding the amount of wave reflection with or without a wall.


    The shoreline may not be a straight line, BUT you could just about shoot a transit down the eroded bluff. It is a straight as any retaining wall. Actually straighter after some of the "lesser" walls were back filled :floor:

    That's where the action is during a storm, not the normal water line on the beach.



    Again, I'm not going to imply that because of what I saw on the video. What I am implying, is that the retaining wall may not do that much more damage to the beach than the vertical bluffs do when they are exposed.

    If it's an incremental amount more erosion caused by the retaining wall, IMHO that's better than what we all experienced on the beach this past year and the year before regarding "recovery". I understand a non GF owner may not appreciate this observation.

    This is not ABSOLUTE by any means but merely a logical deduction on my part based on the video. That's why we're here on the boards in the first place... to share ideas and debate / discuss them... not ram them down the throats of others.


    I do have my shortcomings !!! ;-) back at ya.


    I truly don't believe I've tried to challenge anyone to do something about
    "my right to build a retaining wall" to protect my non-conforming property which is in danger of collapsing from the next hurricane.

    But if you do lay in front of a track hoe, I will pin up a picture of you along side of that BRAVE Chineese demonstrator who stood in front of the military tank. :D

    Worse case.... let's see.... i hear the Jeopardy tune.... and the answer is:
    I take my beach ball home and play in the bay. :D

    Really, why are they renourishing the part of the beach that they are doing now? It's not due to retaining wall wave reflection damage because they didn't exist for the most part.

    So let me answer your question with a question:

    "What do you think the major cause of beach erosion is?"

    SJ, I asked this very same question to another poster a few days ago. Their response (which totally surprised me) was something to the effect that it was off topic.

    Wait a minute... am I crazy?... don't answer that yet.... did I miss something here?

    Isn't the very reason all the retaining walls are going up and the current beach renourishment going on is due to EROSION?

    I thought my question was very appropriate.

    It would seem to me, that after the one poster said it was off-topic there would have been 100 others that would have jumped in and either asked "What is it?" OR provide an answer.

    IT JUST DIED. UNBELIEVABLE!! Does everybody already know? What's up with the "no curiosity" factor?

    SO.... Since you set up a worse case scenario type of question (and maybe I dodged it a little and joked about it in the past - i.e. gulf front marina... it's all in the marketing, etc.), I'll ask you (and others again):

    "What do you think the major cause of beach erosion is (in Florida)?"

    Please take a stab. I'm not setting you or anyone else up. Even I am a little taken back by DEP's answer, but it's there none the less (there! a hint!).

    Thanks SJ !
     
  9. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    Not at all. My reply to your post was refering to you buying up 1st tier properties. My point was that if the seawalls cause complete erosion of the beach, 1st tier property not be desirable. In fact, most of the local area would not be desirable. People would probably opt for BayFront property over the Gulf Front if no beach exists.

    With the dune system (bluffs) are allowed to rebuild the beaches naturally, there will be beaches for a much longer period of time, ;-) although we all know it would be at Gulf Front owners' expense.

    Now, I am beginning to sound like you two guys on reverb. Have I not made my point clear? Let's stop asking the same question to which the answers I have given. (speaking personally)

    Call me crazy.

    While I don't have my own controlled lab, I may video tape my own little experiment and show you the difference.


    Yes, you dodged a real question. Forget that I asked. I thought we were here to seriously discuss things, but I guess you don't want to play fairly in your own sandbox. I am disappointed in you.
     
  10. John R

    John R needs to get out more

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    ok, i'm in. i went to dep's site, and i think i found what you're leading question is leading up to.

    ... While some of this erosion is due to natural forces and imprudent coastal development, a significant amount of coastal erosion in Florida is directly attributable to the construction and maintenance of navigation inlets. Florida has over 60 inlets around the state, many have been artificially deepened to accommodate commercial and recreational vessels and employ jetties to prevent sand from filling in the channels. A by-product of this practice is that the jetties and the inlet channels have interrupted the natural flow of sand along the beach causing an accumulation of sand in the inlet channel and at the jetty on one side of the inlet, and a loss of sand to the beaches on the other side of the inlet.


    is this what you were looking for? crazy that it paralells my statement above regarding cape may. if this is indeed what you're referring to, are you implying that the panama city and destin inlets are responsible for our erosion?

    i too saw dennis' and katrina's work first hand, and had the tupelo crossover torn out from under me while running back toward land. awesome power, it was like a parade of steps. every 20-30 seconds anothe set of stairs would pass by. i wonder where they all ended up?

    during dennis, giving up some of my secret identity bmbv :cool:
    [​IMG]

    after dennis
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    John R, I am not sure where the stairs ended up, but I did see a few sets of them pass by me at the public access at Blue Mtn Bch. I have a photo or two. My best guess is that the steps ended up piled up on 30A at Dune Allen, or farther west in Landlocked's favorite lake, Stallworth.
     
  12. Miss Kitty

    Miss Kitty Meow

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    Read this quick...it will need to be deleted.

    This Texas gal is bring only one tube to the beach...TOOTHPASTE!
    Sorry ....I will leave now.
     
  13. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    John R,

    OK !!! already! I take back back the "simple simon" thing that I said several days ago in more heated moments.

    Honestly, congratulations for being the ONLY one to actually take the time to determine what DEP considers the major cause of beach erosion in Florida. I'm not implying that DEP's statement is the sole source for all our woes.

    It's just that it's one more piece of information that everyone here should take into account before painting such a broad stroke regarding "all the negative impacts" of retaining walls. Things aren't always as black and white as some would lead you to believe.

    BTW, I guess you know where all the sand is coming from for this phase of beach nourishment going on, don't you?

    Truthfully, I'm not familiar with Cape May. Maybe I should reciprocate and take a look at their situation to see how it compares to ours.

    Regarding the Panama City inlet... It sure would appear based on the DEP report and the fact that the "drift" is east to west, that we could be starved somewhat for sand.


    IN SUMMARY:
    We all need to be a little more tolerant regarding this difficult situation. The DEP reference, I would assume, probably catches a lot of people by surprise (including me when I first read it). Maybe, just maybe, it's not all the fault of gulf front property owners regarding erosion.

    Thank you, John R, for giving me this spring board to make my point.

    P.S. I still won't take any bull-h-t from anybody!! :D

    Regards,
    BMBV
     
  14. thumper

    thumper Beach Comber

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    However, the issue at hand is not what the DEP considers to be the current major cause of erosion. The issue is what the proliference of these new walls will do going forward to our beaches. Research points to the answer. Hell, a beach chair left at surf line overnight points to the answer.

    This is why I said earlier that this question was off topic. More accurately, it's what they call a "red herring." (It's akin to saying, in 1910, not to blame those new automobiles for air pollution, since coal, after all, is the major cause of pollution.) We have to think forward. Do we take a painful (necessary) financial hit now to set up a system that research shows preserves and protects our shorelines for posterity, or do we use that money now to put out temporary solutions that, if we're lucky, might only benefit one or two generations?

    BMBV, I sincerely hope you will address this question. (Sans vitriol or sarcasm.) This is a genuine concern. Thank you.
     
  15. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    So what is your point, BMBV? Did I miss it? Is it that to date, seawalls have not been the biggest cause of erosion? If you would state your case, rather than running around in circles trying to make us guess it... oh, never mind -- that would make too much sense.
     
  16. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Here's the way I see it.

    A few weeks ago, everyone was arguing how ALL retaining walls and and the actions of ALL gulf front property owners were the sure death to the beach as we know it. I took major offense to this (as if all of you out there couldn't tell :D ). Looks like I was practically the only one on this thread to take a stand in defense of gulf front owners (in general). My sense is that most of them are a lot smarter than me and value their time much more than I do to enter into this debate when, as one poster said, "it's already in"....talking about the walls.

    Regardless of what was said in these threads, (AGAIN just like "class warefare", "religion" and "abortion"), I felt that REGARDLESS of my argument and substance to back it up, that I felt that I was NOT opening the eyes of very many mis-guided people who were all too quick to slam ALL gulf front owners and their logical actions to TRY to protect their property.

    Smiling JOe, I perceive you to be a person of decent reasoning and moderation. I do understand why you probably are pissed at me for my "underhanded" little game regarding "class warfare" that, BY THE WAY and FOR THE RECORD was not brought up by me, but clearly and intentionally brought up in the Pensacola News Journal. AGAIN, I apologize for the method but not for the results (at least as I and a few others see it).

    Hell, at least I called you an intelligent dolphin swimming in a school of tuna. That, believe it or not, was a compliment.

    I'm not hung up on "class warfare" at all. Some people, for some reason, feel comfortable in directing blame for many "problems" using that game.

    I pointed out the infamous paragraph the way that I did (and hooked a lot more people than I imagined it would) because .....

    If I had first brought it up that the Pensacola article said "extravagent homes... rich... well connected", I'm sure eveyone would have countered with some argument defending the article since part of the article supported "their cause". Again, as I've said before, rightly or wrongly, it would be logical to question the remainder of the article. It's called credibility. And in my mind, they lost it with that statement (and other reasons that will come to light soon enough).

    But since I intentionally set everyone up the way I did, you have to admit, I believe I made my point.

    And that point is that there are people who defend the turtles, sometimes more for their "own ulterior sense of satisfaction of blindly slamming gulf front property owners" than for the turtles' genuine interests.


    SO with that said.....


    Smiling JOe, my point is that the sometimes there are more things involved in making up the total picture than a few here on these threads would have you believe.

    I think that statement (question) is TRUE at its very core. There were very few retaining walls installed (relatively speaking) before Hurricane Dennis. Yet erosion of our bluffs continued. PERIOD.

    I apologize again and again and again.... I'm still blue in the face for apologizing previously for the method of my point making. You know if the situation was reversed, I think I would have acknowledged "You got me on that one... I do see some prejudicial overtones with the Pensacola New Journal article."


    Smiling JOe, let me ask this question....
    Why don't you summarize your opinions on the information exchanged on all the threads. You are a very verbose kind of person (again based on the plethora of posts everywhere on this website). Put it out there. Give it your best shot. I know I certainly have.

    Best Regards,
    BMBV
     
  17. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    That's what I like about you thumper... your command of the undisputable facts that take in the TOTAL climate of our predicament (ok a little dose of sarcasm here). ;-)


    The question you refer to is one I previously asked a couple of times regarding "What is the major cause of erosion in Florida's beaches?".

    I believe you're just insulted that John R actually took the time to do some research (when the question was originally directed to you) and see for himself that there are possibly more things to consider in the TOTAL PICTURE when it comes to ersosion and retaining walls.

    I don't really understand how you can think what DEP considers "the major cause of erosion on Florida's beaches" is "off topic". EROSION is the root cause of all these threads that are discussing retaining walls and geotubes and the like. DEP has their idea.

    Sometimes these threads do evolve by somewhat drifting from topic.


    By this, would it be logical to assume that you own gulf front property and that you are willing to "take a painful (necessary) financial hit"

    OR

    Would it be logical to assume that you and everyone else are willing to pay ALL gulf front property owners fair market value for our property?

    Somehow, I sense the first part is not true but the second is more of what I think you had in mind. If you can swing this, I'll step up and be one of the first to sell.

    There's your mission... Good Luck ! No sarcasm here. Go out there and "JUST DO IT"!

    I hope I did (a little sarcasm excluded in the first paragragh :D ). Did you notice that there was no mention of polluting cars or coal in my reply? ;-)

    Regards,
    BMBV
     
  18. thumper

    thumper Beach Comber

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    Because I was under the impression the topic was how walls will (or will not) exacerbate our critically eroded areas. Yes, we have erosion already. It's my opinion that it's important to seriously explore the solutions that won't accelerate the situation.

    I believe that our tax dollars should fund a study of possible solutions, with projections. IF historical and scientific data show that the best long term course to preserve beaches for future generations is a moratorium on rebuilding in certain areas, I would never support legislation that didn't compensate with fair market value for those homes.

    As the long termers have seen, I like to chime in with an opinion every now and then, to put one man's thoughts on the record. With this post, I am back to lurking. Continue on, fellows.
     
  19. seagrover

    seagrover Beach Fanatic

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    Sorry I have not read all 3 pages of posts - all I can say is, if in the area, come to the N Greenwood walkover here in Seagrove - which has not been re-opened for quite some time - and look at the black dirt they are filling these tubes with - I am appalled that they would allow anything like this on our beaches.

    I did not buy beach front but my property values do have a relation to the color of the sand and this is dirt that they are filling the tuges with. I have been told they have to be through by May 1 - this will be interesting!!!
     
  20. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Hi Thumper,

    Not really meaning to split hairs here... but the title of this particular is geotubes not retaining walls :D ;-) . We've all gone off-topic here (some sooner and more drastically than others if you check towards the beginning of this thread). Just curious... do you or would you classify geotubes the same as retaining walls? I'm not sure what the answer is (either factually or just my opinion). In other words, how do you feel about the "negative" results of geotubes vs. retaining walls, such as increased erosion, negative effects on turtle nesting, etc.?

    I actually did learn something here on SoWal :D regarding the very dark sand piled next to geotubes that someone posted a picture of recently. I, like some others, thought it was sub-standard trucked in sand (just from a casual observation). Now, from what I understand, it's all the dark subsurface soil that was dug up in order to "lay in" the geotubes. I assume they will use this dark sand to fill the tubes with.

    For what it's worth, I too have a problem with that. Geotubes must be continually "cared for" in order that they be successful, long term. I'm not convinced that after the "panic" mode subsides, that those GF owners will "continually" shell out the money to keep the tubes covered with sand as is necessary to protect them for the long term each time a bad storm passes by. It's expensive enough the first go-round. That and many other reasons are why I decided to go with a normal retaining wall (maintenance free composite in our case).

    Here's a question... maybe someone else can also "chime" in... that is, what percentage of the projects that are using geotubes are protecting CONFORMING vs NON-CONFORMING structures? In other words are some owners electing to go with geotubes who have a "newer" home because they feel that if the sh-t hits the fan regarding DEP permitting, that they might be dealt with less severly than if the owner put a retaining retaining wall like we did (qualified by the way)?

    Just food for thought.

    Fair enough !!! :D

    In all likelyhood, our government, and rightly so, will probably just let the GF owners figure it out and foot the bill in the meantime via armoring and dune restoration in front of the wall (when theoretically allowed). History will ultimately determine the success or failure of armoring, dune restoration (and hopefully beach renourishment) in our, again, unique area of high bluffs. And it may very well turn out that in the long term, something like beach renoursihment is the only real affordable on-going solution. 20 years from now, maybe we'll all give up, govt will buy up all beach side properties within, let's say, 500 feet of the current CCCL and hope that the entire effort does not have to repeated in the next hundred years.

    Again renourishment will probably win out in our area! OR if DEP is right about the "major cause of beach erosion", we'll just have to blow up the Panama City shipping inlet to let the sand continue its natural flow to us!!... then dredge it up at the Destin Pass and bring it back to us :lol: Oh yea, we're doing the second part (dredging Destin Pass) as we speak. ;-)


    Thanks. I DO appreciate the chance to logically converse and share views. Chime away, my friend! :D

    BMBV
     

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