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Online Tool Pinpoints Sand for Florida Beach Restoration

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, February 12, 2008 (ENS) – Florida today debuted the first database in the country that identifies sand sources for beach restoration and nourishment projects.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, DEP, has compiled a comprehensive on-line tool for identifying suitable sand sources from Florida’s coastal waters.

“With this new database, both the state and local beach managers will be better equipped to evaluate and protect our precious coastal resources,” said DEP Secretary Michael Sole.

The database includes information about offshore sediment and geological features and is intended to support coastal engineers, project managers, and regulators as they design and construct beach restoration and nourishment projects.

Named the Reconnaissance Offshore Sand Search, or “ROSS,” the database is publicly available on the Internet at: http://ross.urs-tally.com/

The project has incorporated geological and geotechnical data for the Florida Panhandle and is currently extending the coverage to the offshore region of the southwest Florida coastal zone – Pinellas to Collier Counties.

The work will continue along the Atlantic Ocean coastal zone during the next fiscal year.

The primary area of interest is within 10 miles of the shoreline. Data and information from further offshore that assists in understanding or predicting potential sand resources within the area of primary interest will also be included in the database as will data on beach sands.

“State, federal and local governments invest millions of dollars annually to restore and maintain critically eroded beaches along Florida’s coastline,” said Mike Barnett, a licensed professional engineer and Bureau Chief of DEP’s Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems.

“Having an up-to-date tracking system of available offshore sand sources statewide will help beach restoration and nourishment projects move forward more quickly,” he said.

Florida’s beach and dune system acts as the first line of defense during hurricane season. Beach restoration and nourishment can prepare the coastline to better withstand the forces of hurricanes while providing recreational and economic benefits. To date, more than 190 miles of beach have been restored and maintained through the state program.

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