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Dredging epic party spot is good for beaches, Biscayne Bay

Dredging epic party spot is good for beaches, Biscayne Bay

July 29, 2021 at 8:01am

One of the most epic party spots in Miami for boaters will soon disappear. It’s sad news for partygoers at the infamous Haulover sandbar, but good news for the environment.  

Miami-Dade County commissioners have voted to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the sand from the sandbar and move it to the shoreline — where it belongs.

FIU coastal scientist Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman says even though the party will soon be over, it’s best for all involved — the beach, Biscayne Bay and even boaters.

The Haulover sandbar formed when sand that should have been naturally replenishing Bal Harbour and beaches southward instead got pulled into the inlet with the incoming tidal current, depositing the sand in Biscayne Bay. 

Removing the sandbar will most urgently help replenish eroding beaches. Miami Beach is starving for sand. To date, several erosion hot spots in this area have been replenished with sand from southwest of Lake Okeechobee at a costly $70 per cubic yard. Dredging the sandbar costs significantly less and will also help get much-needed beach-quality sand back where it’s desperately needed.

The swiftly-moving tidal currents that formed the sandbar can actually cause hazardous conditions for boaters partying there during changing tides. The resulting large sandbar is also filling in the Intracoastal Waterway, making it difficult for large boats to pass through this area.

Another benefit of the dredging is improving water quality In Biscayne Bay, which faces ongoing pollution concerns. As Leatherman says, the sandbar essentially disrupts the flow of water. If it’s gone, better flushing of Biscayne Bay will happen by improving the flow of water between the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay.

“I don’t want to be a party pooper, but from a science perspective, this has to happen,” Leatherman said.