CK Beach Preservation Project – Final Phase I Report with Executive Summary

CKA Members / Residents:

The Casey Key Beach Preservation Project Working Group “Working Group” has completed Phase I of the assigned Project with the submission of the attached Phase I Feasibility Study Final Report. This Report marks the completion of the first important milestone for the development and implementation of a comprehensive, ongoing Gulf Coast shoreline protection and preservation management program for Casey Key. As you will recall from prior communications, the goal of the Casey Key Beach Management Program is to stabilize, protect and enhance our Gulf Coast beach and dune ecosystem as a resource for storm protection, recreation, and environmental habitat.

This Phase I Report by Humiston & Moore Engineers (H & M), along with extensive participation and input from the Working Group, is a comprehensive, detailed and in some sections very technical assessment of the beach and dune erosion that is weakening our Key’s environmental ecosystem. This report must necessarily be detailed to properly understand and address the complex problems, conditions, and challenges of the entire Gulf Coast shoreline and to provide the necessary information, analyses, and support material for meaningful discussions with the various County, State and Federal regulators with whom we must now interact in order to proactively move forward with our comprehensive Casey Key Beach Management Program.

Given the comprehensive, detailed and technical nature of this report, we asked H & M to provide a “non-engineering” Executive Summary to better articulate our understanding of the key findings and conclusions of the Report as we must now begin to discuss what we should do and how.

We also thought it helpful for those of us on the Working Group to offer our assessment of the salient findings and conclusions we believe to be the most critical for our residents to understand and focus on:

  1. Casey Key beach, and its dunes, are in a state of significant erosion which will continue forward unless there is immediate and significant action taken to stabilize, protect and enhance the marine and land ecosystem of the entire Key. This comes as no surprise but through this Report is now objectively documented and substantiated.  Time is not our friend in this undertaking.
  • Armoring can and has protected upland areas but does not stop further erosion of the beach nor provide the required conditions for stabilizing, protecting and enhancing our beach long term and in fact actually exacerbates erosion both to the north and clearly to the south of the armoring because the sand flows south.
  • Sand fill alone, especially as it has been done, residential property by property, can only provide a temporary erosion relief but cannot, and will not, by itself lead to a long-term solution to address our significant beach and dune erosion conditions.
  • A more comprehensive sand fill accompanied by appropriately designed permeable structures in the water may offer a better solution to address stabilizing, protecting and enhancing our Casey Key marine and land ecosystem.
  • The challenges we face cannot be addressed by individual residents; it will require us working together as a community, most likely through a number of sequential localized projects along the entire Gulf Coast over an extended period of time but starting in earnest in early 2021.  To do otherwise is to do what has been done in the past and the attached report and our own experience has shown that to expect our situation will improve rather than get worse is unrealistic. 
  • As we have recognized from the outset, whatever we choose to do will not be inexpensive. However, if we do nothing, it may not be without an impact to property values.  However, before we can focus on how best to fund our solution(s) of choice, we must first decide on what those choices are and the time frame upon which they can be realized. Only then can we focus on the various funding sources.   To be clear, there will be some level of cost to all residents, most likely proportioned based on property location; however, our objective will be to identify and secure various funding sources and approaches that will minimize direct resident cost.

To achieve a long-term solution to the Casey Key shoreline erosion problem, we must first decide whether we are unified in whole or in part as residents and committed to the proposed short and long term local and regional projects recommended in this Phase I Feasibility Report. Only then can we begin to effectively address execution, funding and interaction with County, State and Federal regulators controlling the permitting and construction processes.

This Report will be an agenda item at The Casey Key Association January 21st Annual Meeting where our H&M engineering consultants will be in attendance.  In the interim please contact a Board or Working Group Member with any questions, concerns or recommendations.

On behalf of The Casey Key Beach Preservation Project Working Group