FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) – On a breezy day like Monday the waves crash ashore in Fairhope, slowly chipping away at Magnolia Beach.
“As different places along the shore change different things it can cause either a gain or a loss of sand, and we’ve been for now, going on 20 years, we’ve been in a sand loss situation here,” said Public Works Director Richard Johnson.
It’s an ongoing problem the City of Fairhope wants to correct, at least temporarily, by dumping 25 truckloads of sand on the beach next month to fight erosion.
“We could quickly come in here and bulkhead this and stop the challenge of losing the shoreline and threatening the infrastructure whether it be the sidewalks, the roadways, the parking area, the bathrooms, but then you eliminate that natural interface of water and sand and we don’t want that. We want a beach here,” he explained.
Johnson says past major hurricanes, like Katrina and Ivan, really hurt the shoreline and the water continues to eat away at the beach. He says at one point the erosion created a dangerous cliff here and he wants to make sure the city addresses the issues before they get worse.
A longterm project is planned, but right now city officials are still waiting on a federal grant to get approved. “Ultimately, we are pursuing an opportunity with a grant to actually install an offshore breakwater which will end that loss of sand and will actually help gain some sand in this location,” said Johnson.
A project like that could still be several years away, he says. For now, nearly $20,000 worth of sand will be hauled in and dumped onto the beach the first week of April.