Beach Project Update

On Thursday, April 8th the OPCL community heard from Mr. Dan Adams, P.E. Coastal Program Manager and Mr. James White, P.E. Coastal Program Manager, who addressed concerns about the erosion at the Ocean Park beach and plans for replenishment. (for the slide presentation: see previous post) Here are some highlights from Mr. Adam’s presentation and the discussion:

This will be the first true restoration project for OP beach. The beach has been a placement site for Federal dredging project spoils but this will be a much larger scale project. The Ocean Park beach is in a priority position as it already has a memo of agreement with VPA and is in the process of completing the necessary permits. Mr. Adams said that OP was the priority among the bay beaches if the quantity of beach quality sand falls short of the anticipated total or if the city of Norfolk or the Navy decide to exercise their claim on sand from the project. The total amount of beach quality sand is projected to be 400,000- 800,000 cubic yards. OP beach is slated to receive 310,000 cy to be able to do the full restoration. Mr. Adams expressed confidence that the sand OP beach requires will be available to do the project.

Timing: The project is on schedule. The design plans are set to be completed mid-May and bidding is scheduled for July. A Public Information Meeting (hopefully in person) will be held to communicate the project design and schedule to the community once the bidding process is complete. Dredging and placement is programmed to begin in late 2021 or early 2022. August 2022 is the conservative date for project completion not the start of the project. It is hoped that it will be completed well before that time.

Future: In addressing concerns about future needs for beach nourishment, Mr. Adams talked about a replenishment cycle involving 192,000 cy of sand every 3-5 years. He mentioned that there would be an opportunity to get the use of Thimble Shoals as a borrow site for renourishment. Another avenue would be dredge spoils from the Atlantic Ocean Channel (the orange line on the slide). The purpose of the City’s placements, nourishments and replenishments of sand is primarily for storm damage reduction. It provides the auxiliary benefit of a wider recreational beach.

Lynnhaven Sand PileEmergency Sand: The 60,000 cy of sand is beach quality but falls far short of being enough to be effective on the full beach. They consider the best use of the sand would be at a hot spot in the most vulnerable section if erosion brings conditions to that point. When asked about what preparations had been made for emergency action, Mr. Adams said they have received the authority to place sand above the mean high water line. Mr. Adams said that an emergency replenishment is when a habitable structure is in imminent risk of damage or when the coastal engineers feel the next storm could cause structural damage.

Questions: Mr. Adams responded to a question about the improved beach providing more flood protection and whether it could lead to a reduction in flood insurance for residents. He replied that FEMA remaps every 10 yrs and it would depend on when that would next happen but potentially OP could be removed from the VE zone. In answer to a question about the monitoring of OP beach, Mr. Adams said they do a LIDAR survey of the beach twice a year, go out monthly and after storms in person. In answer to a question about dune safety, they will consider placing signs to keep people off the dunes.

Mr. Adams and Mr. White assured members of their commitment to open communication and proposed several steps to keeping the communication lines open so residents will be kept up to date.

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