After being battered by recent storms, Fairhope’s public beaches are getting a much-needed fix to help combat erosion caused by high surf and storms.
The city of Fairhope is spending $30,000 to develop a plan to solve the erosion issues caused by the loss of natural nourishment processes at the beaches along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay.
A string of violent storms this winter that caused severe erosion to Magnolia Beach near Pier Street created dangerous conditions at the beaches, with six to eight foot drop offs along the bluffs in some areas.
According to consultants, Fairhope’s public beaches north and south of its municipal pier are “starved of sand.”
The city has contracted with an engineering firm working on a long-term plan to address the city’s ongoing erosion problems. The firm, South Coast Engineers, will develop a management and repair plan for all of its public beaches. The city agreed to pay $15,000, in addition to $15,000 in federal grant money, to pay for the plan.
In the last few years the city has dumped thousands of cubic yards of sand onto the public beaches to prevent future erosion around the Fairhope municipal pier. The city already spent thousands of dollars to bring in 900 cubic yards of sand as a temporary fix this past year.
The firm is charged with developing a comprehensive survey of existing conditions of the beaches, which will be used to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency funding in anticipation of future storms that cause erosion to the shoreline.
The firm will also develop a beach management and erosion monitoring plan, which will include recommendations to reduce windblown erosion and allow city officials to periodically survey the beach.