Why are the sand dunes in South Florida shrinking?
The sand dune in South Tampa is disappearing, leaving behind a series of roads and parking lots.
The city of Tampa says its estimated that as many as 5,000 to 7,000 acres of land could be affected by the sand draining out.
The Sand Dunes of Tampa and adjacent lands are the only area of Tampa’s coastline that has been completely cleared of sand, making the area uninhabitable for birds.
But the city is facing an even bigger problem.
A report from the Federal Aviation Administration says sand has begun draining from more than 400 miles of the sandbelt.
Officials with the FAA say the areas that are the most vulnerable to erosion are those that sit at or near the bottom of the ocean.
“We’ve seen the sand that’s already fallen out from the sea rise on the Florida coastline, which is just off of Florida’s coast,” says Mike McGlone, the president of the South Florida Wetlands Association.
“The sand that has already fallen in, has eroded into the ocean, is now going into the gulf of Mexico, is heading down into the Gulf of Mexico.
That’s a problem.”
In the last 30 years, the sand belt has shed more than 20 million cubic yards of sand from the area around the sand beaches.
McGlones estimates that the total amount of sand that is now falling from the sand in the sand beach area could be nearly 50 million cubic feet.
That could leave an area of roughly 30 square miles, which could have an impact on the economy.
“That sand is going to wash into the coastal plain, which then becomes the sand bank that is what we call a sandy beach,” McGlonoes says.
“That sand will then sink into the deep Gulf of Maine, which will have a huge impact on fish and wildlife.”
You’re seeing an increase in fish, an increase of turtles and other animals that can’t go out to the sea,” Mcglones says.”
This is the most dangerous thing that has happened in Florida since the Great Depression,” says Michael Johnson, who has been involved in the Sand Dune Management Project for the past 10 years.
Johnson, the director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, says the impact of the storm on the sand is also significant.”
I think it is going a long way to explaining the loss of some of the wildlife habitat, and I think it will have some impact on all of the other ecosystems around the state,” he says.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that the sand erosion will continue, but that the damage to the Gulf and surrounding areas is not expected to be severe.”
If you’re a bird, you know the sand doesn’t move in the same direction that it moves when it’s in a hurricane,” McAfee says.
The sand has already been reduced by the hurricane and will be back to normal once the storm passes.