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EROSION? Walls of sand at Naples beaches raise concerns after weeklong storm

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jun 20, 2024

NAPLES, Fla — A two-foot-high wall of sand on Vanderbilt Beach is raising concerns of possible erosion along Collier County's coastline.

Residents began noticing small "cliffs" of sand split down the middle of several beaches about 20 feed from the coast. This comes just a week after heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding in neighborhoods - backing up local stormwater systems.

"I did notice that there's a fairly minor escarpment, a little cliff along the front of the beach," said Brett Moore, founder of Humiston and Moore Engineers, a coastal consulting firm.

Moore explained that the formation of these sand cliffs is due to elevated water levels pushed ashore by winds, combined with heightened tides due to the current lunar phase.

Last year, Collier County allocated $24 million toward an emergency berm project aimed at beach restoration.

Over 400,000 cubic yards of sand were imported to replenish the shoreline in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

While effective in rejuvenating severely eroded beaches, Moore believes the current erosion will naturally correct itself.

"It's a dynamic zone, so when we have storms come through and it generates waves, then the beach area will respond to that," Moore explained.

He added, "And just like that, we'll get a period of calm weather and then it will recover. So it's no reason to be alarmed, but if it persists, then we have to deal with it."