Florida on high alert, as beaches are running out of sand

Florida leaders are scurrying to find solutions to a complex problem that threatens to hurt their tourism industry — their beaches are running out of sand.

“We are just limited in the actual amount of sand that’s available to us,” said Stephen Blair, who heads up the beach restoration project for Miami-Dade, in the Daily Mail.

Options: Flush out existing sand stashes with recycled glass, or import sand from other beaches. But importing is a tough battle. As The New York Times pointed out, the continental shelf along Florida beach property is so narrow, that sand is a precious commodity up and down the whole coastline. Along come storms — and Florida’s a hot spot for hurricanes — and the sand situation grows even worse.

“What happens in 50 years when all that sand is gone? Where are we supposed to go then? I told [Miami-Dade officials] to take their sand shovels and sand buckets and go home and come up with a better plan,” said Frannie Hutchinson, a county commission with St. Lucie, recalling how her government body was approached with a request for sand.

Meanwhile, in Broward County, officials are already tapping into sand mines to flush out their beach. It’s a high cost, but will keep the tourism industry afloat for a while long. Still, trucking sand in from the north isn’t a long-term solution, said Jason Harrah, a project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers, in the Daily Mail.

“There would be 20,000 trucks going through South Beach in tourist season,” he said. “So you can imagine that?”

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