Beach Renourishment PCB, Florida

Our sugar white sands need renourishment from time to time to keep them soft and beautiful!  The fifth renourishment of the Panama City Beach, Florida will begin September 2021, with anticipated completion by early 2022. This is a very important project for maintaining the health and beauty of our beaches! This project begins in on the west end of Panama City Beach near Pinnacle Port. The contractors will work down the beach over the following several months replacing over 2.1 million cubic yards of sand. 

Construction mobilization started when equipment and pipeline were delivered to the west end project area beach. Active dredging and placement of sand on the beach started September 11, 2021. Equipment is delivered and moved continually along the beach for the duration of this project. 

This renourishment project is taking place along two large project beach segments totaling approximately 12 miles. The “western” project area extends from Pinnacle Port to the City Pier. The “eastern” project area extends from St. Andrews State Park (not including the park) to Ocean Towers. The middle of the beach – from the City Pier to Ocean Towers – will not be renourished with this project. It did not experience enough erosion to justify renourishment in this area.

Approximately 2.1 million cubic yards of sand will be placed with this project. This will be the third largest renourishment done in PCB.

The initial restoration of the Panama City Beaches in 1998-1999 placed approximately 9.8 million cubic yards of sand along the 18.5 miles of beaches. The 2005-2006 project placed approximately 3.3 million cubic yards of sand along 17.5 miles of beaches, and it was conducted in response to 2004’s Hurricane Ivan.

The 2011 project placed approximately 1.3 million cubic yards of sand along a total of 7.5 miles of the beaches (east and west ends) and was referred to as a “repair” project as it was conducted in response to several storms following Hurricane Ivan. That project also formally incorporated a project at Pinnacle Port and Carillon Beach.

The 2017 project placed approximately 840,000 cubic yards of sand along a total of four project areas which included a half-mile at Pinnacle Port/Carillon Beach, a one-mile segment stretching west from the City Pier, a one-mile segment stretching west from the County Pier, and a one-mile segment stretching from the western end of St. Andrews State Park to Gulf Drive/Hurt Street. 

The construction cost for this project is $28.5 million and is entirely federally-funded; there are no local or state matching dollars required. Because this is an authorized and previously built federal shore protection project, the project team secured Federal Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies funds for this project to replace the sand losses due to hurricanes Michael and Sally in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

The project will take approximately 4 to 5 months; however construction may move faster or slower. There may be circumstances that cause lengthy delays due to construction shutdown, like weather conditions or major repairs to equipment.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is managing the construction of the project. The Bay County Tourist Development Council, serves as the local sponsor for the project.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. LLC is the dredging contractor. They were the contractor for the 2011 beach nourishment project.

 The sand for large-scale beach nourishment projects comes from our offshore “borrow areas.” The main borrow area is located approximately 1.5 miles offshore of Shell Island, and secondary borrow areas are located near the St. Andrews Bay entrance channel.

The sand is dredged from the offshore borrow areas into a hopper dredge. The hopper dredge motors from the borrow area closer to the project site and hooks up to a submerged pipeline. The submerged pipeline runs from just off the beach up onto the beach and connects to shore pipeline, which runs laterally along the dry beach. The sand is discharged as a water and sand slurry mixture through the pipeline. The sand stays on the beach, and the water runs back into the Gulf of Mexico. Bulldozers reshape the newly placed sand to meet the designed construction template.

The sand coming out of the pipe is a water and sand slurry mixture. It often contains darker, fine material that washes out as the sand is reshaped on the beach by the bulldozers. This is not contamination.

Construction should progress at a rate of 500 feet to 1,500 feet per day. Barring any issues, this means the active construction area may only be in front of various condos for a couple days. Please be patient. Everyone, wants the project to continue moving down the beach and closer to completion as quickly as possible.

The active work/construction area is limited to an approximate 1,000-2,000-foot section of beach. To access the beach during construction, walk laterally along the beach until you get around the active work area. Locate a sand bridge that goes over the dredge pipe, and you will be able to access the Gulf.

Work will continue 24 hours a day. These are extremely expensive projects, and it is not feasible to halt work overnight or on weekends.

The beaches of Panama City Beach that you see today are the result of four previous nourishment projects: one completed in 1998/1999, the second in 2005/2006, the third in 2011, and the fourth most recently in 2017. Hurricane Opal (1995) caused significant erosion of the beaches and left very little dry beach along much of the Panama City Beaches.

To combat this erosion, as well as erosion from storms since then, renourishment projects have been constructed. These projects not only provide recreational beach width for the benefit of residents and visitors, but during storm events, the sand also provides critical protection for public and private structures and infrastructure landward of the beach. Because of the 1998/1999 project, there was very little damage to upland development when Hurricane Ivan struck in 2004. The same was true when Hurricane Michael struck in 2018. In addition, a healthy beach provides nesting areas for species such as sea turtles and shorebirds.

This beach nourishment management program is much like a roadway or other such infrastructure – once it is built, it must be maintained. The work you see ongoing now is a small maintenance project that will help ensure continued use of a sandy beach and storm protection for the upland.

The sea turtle nesting season wraps up about the time when the project is expected to begin. There are permitted procedures in place for relocation of nests that may be laid late in the season that might be impacted by the start of construction in September/October.

Thanks for your patience and cooperation during this necessary project to keep Panama City Beach, Florida beautiful for everyone who uses this amazing resource.

Shelling, Modern Day Treasure Hunting!

Shelling is the original treasure hunting and is enjoyed by people everywhere! Delicate seashells are like tiny washed up treasures. Enjoy beachcombing on Panama City Beach while you are here on vacation. The shells you’ll see vary from day to day so, it’s always an adventure. You can amass a treasure trove of real beauties while you enjoy your beach time. Some are snowy white and others are very colorful. You never know what you’ll find.

All you need is a mesh bag or other suitable container for carrying your shell stash and some free time to roam the water’s edge!

Remember to please inspect each shell before dropping into your bag, because it is illegal to take live shells from the beach.

For an extra special shelling experience, we highly recommend a trip to Shell Island, Panama City Beach, Florida. This secret spot is where the locals go for shelling an for taking a day off! Take a shuttle, rent a pontoon boat or a jet ski and head out to Shell Island, a tiny oasis that is perfect for when you want to get away from it all. This untouched beach area is mostly undeveloped and remains unspoiled so, you’ll find plenty of seashells to collect in addition to enjoying a day of swimming, snorkeling and beachcombing. Commonly found shells here are conch shells, junonia shells, tulip shells and spotted slipper shells.

Once you have your collection, you’ll want to display it in a special way. Here are some ideas for shell displays.

We wish you good hunting and luck finding some great shells while you are visiting us in PCB!

Display your Shell Collection in a Coastal Bowl with other beach items.

Use your Shell Collection to Make a Sailor’s Valentine for Your Sweetie!

Make a Sea Shell Mobile or Wind Chime to Remind You of Your Time At The Beach!

A Shell Wall Hanging or Curtain Is A Special Memento Of The Ocean!

Why is PCB Sand So White?

Why is the sand so white on Panama City Beach in the Florida Panhandle?

The sand along the North Florida Coast in Panama City Beach, Florida is among the whitest, cleanest and softest in the world! What you might not know, is that when you walk on the beaches in PCB, you are actually walking on the Appalachian Mountains.

The sand is made up mainly of 99% pure silica quartz washed down from the mountains by the Apalachicola River. The quartz is ground to a perfect oval in each grain of sand. It is so fine in texture, it literally “squeaks” under your toes as you walk!

Normally, such quartz has a rosy pink tint because of its oxide coating  but, the sugary-white quartz lost its coating somewhere along the watery journey to the South thousands of years ago.

Visitors rave about it, and people call it the “sugar-white beaches” of Northwest Florida. The sand accumulated creating sand bars along the river bends and streams on its long journey all the way down south to the edges of the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The white sand keeps our beaches from heating up in the Summer, unlike other beaches with darker and coarser sand.

The Sugar White Sand is the perfect complement to the Emerald Green Waters of the Gulf of Mexico. 

Emerald Beach Properties has the perfect PCB, Florida vacation rental for you.  See them all at www.EmeraldBeachProperties.com.  Save big when you book on our website.  Give us a call at (850) 234-0997 with any questions you may have. 

Soft White Sand and Emerald Waters in Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach: Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

The weather is a fact of life in Florida.  Located on the Gulf of Mexico, we experience the amazing power of the ocean every day.  Most days it is serene and beautiful.  Even cloudy days with rain are special.  They say any day at the beach is better than a day at work!  We do have the occasional tropical storm or hurricane, too.  It’s the small price we pay for living on the ocean!

Hurricane Season starts June 1 and ends November 30.   In our area the highest chances of Hurricanes are in September.  During this time of year, we watch the National Hurricane Center as storms make their way across the Atlantic and sometimes into the Gulf of Mexico.  If there is a storm in the Gulf of Mexico, the authorities watch the tracks closely and we are well informed in advance of the progress of every storm. Not every storm becomes a hurricane or even a tropical storm. You can visit the national hurricane center online to track incoming storms at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov.   The Weather Channel usually has really dramatic coverage of any possible storm.  The locals say that when Jim Cantore and his pals show up, you are in for rough weather.

www.nhc.noaa.gov

You’ll have plenty of notice if you need to evacuate and we’ll let you know if we think you should re-schedule your trip due to an incoming storm.  Trip insurance that covers weather related cancellations is a really good idea for trips during hurricane season.

The Top 50 cities likely to experience tropical storms and hurricanes include Cape Hatteras, North Carolina at every 1.32 years, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Savannah, GA, Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Tampa, Florida, Turks & Caicos, Pensacola, FL, Norfolk VA, New Orleans, LA.  Panama City Beach, FL is way down at  #47 on the list at about every 2.33 years.  This does not mean we have a hurricane every 2.33 years, it’s just the average over the last 149 years.

The official list of hurricanes in Florida was started in 1851. This list includes Category 3 and stronger hurricanes. For the first 66 years, the list had 11 hurricanes.  Five of those caused damage in Bay County.

For the next 57 years (1918-1974), no major storm hit Bay County. People thought that this trend would continue and the we were all safe from hurricanes.

However, since 1975 we have had several big hurricanes: Eloise (Sept. 23, 1975), then Opal (Oct. 4, 1995), Ivan (Sept. 16, 2004), Dennis (July 10, 2005), and Michael (Oct. 10, 2018). From 1975 through 2020, there were 12 major recorded storms and Bay County was affected by 5.

Every storm is not the same, and most are not serious, thank goodness! Michael in 2018 was a Category 5 and was devastating to the local area.  When you visit us, if you travel to Panama City across the Hathaway Bridge while you are here, you’ll likely see some of the destruction that is still visible 3+ years after Michael.  The interesting thing about Michael is that even though we had a direct hit in Panama City (over the bridge from the beach), damage was horrible in that area but, areas 75-100 miles away saw little or no damage at all.

The thing to remember is that our weather in Panama City Beach is usually BEAUTIFUL with no sign of storms or hurricanes on the horizon so, don’t let the remote possibility that one might pop up keep you from visiting and enjoying the BEACH!

Hurricanes and tropical storms may cause rain and wind across large areas but, the areas of severe damage are relatively small. Keep an eye on the local news for information about evacuations and where you can seek shelter if it becomes necessary.