Huffpost Miami

South Florida Running Out Of Sand (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:
Beachgoers enjoy a day on Miami Beach, Florida's famed South Beach, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. Some of South Florida's most popular beaches will be particularly vulnerable to erosion and major damage if the state experiences a series of hurricanes, as it did in 2004 and 2005, because officials have run out of sand. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Beachgoers enjoy a day on Miami Beach, Florida's famed South Beach, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. Some of South Florida's most popular beaches will be particularly vulnerable to erosion and major damage if the state experiences a series of hurricanes, as it did in 2004 and 2005, because officials have run out of sand. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Florida needs sand.

The state, known for its sunny beaches, is reportedly fast running out of the precious commodity due to erosion from storms and tides, a rising sea level and man-made structures like jetties that have been built on beaches, causing sand to build up on only one side of the structure.

"It is quite a concept but unfortunately it's true," Jerry Scarborough of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told NBC News of the sand scarcity.

According to the New York Times, communities who live along Florida's Atlantic coastline have been replenishing their beaches by dredging up off-shore sand for decades.

But in South Florida, the situation has become dire, with Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties facing a shortage like none they've experienced before.

"We're running out of sand off-shore, we've pretty much vacuumed everything up," Stephen Leatherman of Florida International University told NBC.

Part of the worry, of course, is that without stretches of pristine beach, people -- particularly tourists -- will be less likely to spend their money in these counties.

But, there's a larger concern as well.

“These beaches, people think they are recreational, but they are storm damage reduction,” Jason Harrah, the Army Corps project manager in charge of the Miami-Dade beach restoration, told the Times. “They are meant to sacrifice themselves for the loss of property or life. In the event we have that kind of storm, we wouldn’t have the means to replenish them.”

South Florida's vulnerability in the face of a large storm "is very real," said Stephen Blair, chief of restoration and enhancement in Miami-Dade's department of environmental resources management, according to the AP.

Communities in South Florida are thus now scrambling to come up with the best way to get sand back on their beaches.

Some ideas include crushing up recycled glass bottles to make artificial sand and buying the coveted commodity from from mines in Central Florida or countries in the Caribbean.

WATCH:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Also on The Huffington Post

10 Challenges Facing South Florida's Environment
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Where Sand Is Gold, the Reserves Are Running Dry

Florida Beaches Are Running Out of Sand

Florida Beaches Desperately Seeking Sand

Miami-Dade County Beaches in Florida Run Out of Sand

Corps Runs out of Sand for Miami-Dade Beaches

'Sand state' foreclosures are receding fast

South Florida Is Having a Sand Shortage Crisis

Where sand is gold, the coffers are running dry