Factbox - Sifting through U.S. beach sand numbers

  • World
  • Friday, 16 Feb 2018

(Reuters) - One of the challenges Florida faces after a violent storm year that left the state saddled with more than $50 billion in damage is getting enough sand to protect seaside homes and businesses and fix up its beaches in time for the peak tourist season.

Here is a summary of what Florida and other coastal states and communities have been doing to protect and rebuild their shorelines based on to the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) data:

* In 1923, New York City's neighbourhood of Coney Island was the first to pour sand on its beaches.

* There have since been 2,910 sand replenishments in every coastal U.S. state and along the shores of the Great Lakes.

* The volume has exceeded 1.5 billion cubic yards (1.15 billion cubic meters).

* The practice of restocking beaches with sand is becoming more popular: In 2017, seven states had at least one fill underway compared to six in both 2016 and 2015, three in 2014 and two states in 2013. 

* Florida has spent the most on beach projects, performed them most frequently and covered the most miles of beach. The cost has been $1.3 billion, unadjusted for inflation, since its first project in 1944; the number of fills is 545; and the miles covered is 237. New Jersey, North Carolina, Louisiana and New York were other top beach sand spenders.

* Florida has about 1,350 miles (2,173 km) of coastline, the most of any U.S. state outside of Alaska, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It has 825 miles of sandy beaches, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

* There are more than 400 miles of badly eroded beaches in Florida, according to the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association. Half are part of a shore protection project that makes them eligible for public dollars.

* While Florida leads in most beach sand replenishment measures, California has placed the most sand by volume on its beaches - 394 million cubic yards of sand since its first project in the Los Angeles coastal suburb of San Pedro in 1927.

* Florida comes in second with 301 million cubic yards followed by New Jersey's 171 million, New York's 158 million and North Carolina's 137 million cubic yards.

* Florida and New Jersey were the only states with designated funds for beach sand until 2017, when North Carolina became the third state to create such a reserve.

* In 2013, Miami-Dade and Broward counties ran out of offshore sand, prompting what is considered the state's first major projects to truck sand from inland mines. More Florida counties have since turned to the practice.

* In 2017, Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Representative Lois Frankel, both from Florida, renewed a push to allow sand to be brought from the Bahamas to replenish U.S. beaches.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Daniel Bases and Tomasz Janowski)

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