Virginia Beach to restart replenishment fund for beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – It’s the main attraction of Virginia’s largest city: the beach; but something needs to be done to keep it alive.

For the first time in years, Virginia Beach is putting sand replenishment on the fast track. The miles of sand that hug the resort city, do more than just draw in the tourists.

“The beach provides protection against large storm events,” Phill Roehrs, from Virginia Beach Public Works Department said. “The beach dampens those waves and prevents them from coming and damaging infrastructure.”

Roehrs said to protect this precious asset, the city has spent decades refilling the shoreline.

“We went into a period of about 50 years where we did truck hauls where we actually purchased sand and trucked it to the beach,” Roehrs said.

While the method has changed, the mission stays the same, but then again, so does the problem. Every year, Virginia Beach loses enough sand that if it were stretched out in a line it would go from the Oceanfront to just outside Fredericksburg; around 250,000 cubic yards.

Every four years the city sets aside millions of dollars to pump sand.

“The recession came along 2008, 2009 our city budget got extremely stressed,” Roehrs said.

So the city cut beach replenishment funds and got along year-to-year with emergency funds. That should change with the 2017 budget.

“The city manager has proposed that the city, again, begin receiving annual deposits appropriations to rebuild the account and be prepared for the next replenishment,” he explained.

Here’s how it works: The Army Corps of Engineers will pay about 65% of the $15 million replenishment effort; it’s up to the city to pay the rest.

If the city budgets around $2 million each year, the resort will have no problem protecting the beach for the next 50 years.

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