Monthly Archives: May 2016

And so it begins…

A section of the 30-inch diameter pipeline that brings sand to the shore from a dredging location several miles offshore. A slurry of sand and sea water is pumped on to the beach, parallel with the shore, allowing the water to drain and leave the sand. Large bulldozers then move the sand as necessary to rebuild the beach.

I paid a last visit to Mitchelville Beach this morning before access will be closed starting tomorrow, June 1st, to begin the island’s 2016 beach renourishment.  Last done in 2007, this program rebuilds beaches lost as the shoreline retreats due to erosion. The rebuilding of the beach is an ongoing battle with the forces of nature, and one for which there are many arguments for and against, but not here, not now.

Work has been under way at Mitchelville for the past week, clearing the many trees felled by erosion. The huge peat flats exposed by the erosion and the missing trees leave the beach looking vastly different to a visitor from even a few short months ago.

Last week I took a walk from the heel of the island northwest to Fish Haul Creek to record the vast erosion that has occurred since last fall.

I plan to get out as I can to photograph the changes, but if you want to keep up with updates on the project bookmark this link. Below is a timeline map for the project.

The renourishment will take place in stages and this map represents the planned timeline for the project. In order to complete this enormous undertaking in the allotted 5 months, work will continue around the clock once it commences.



New critter adventure…

I spent hours roaming the beach yesterday before a storm rolled in during the afternoon, and loved every minute of it. “But there is nothing unusual about that,”you say, “you always enjoy the beach.” What made yesterday extra special was that I met not one, but four different critters that I had not yet had the pleasure of making acquaintance. All of these will be added to the appropriate critter pages.

018Almost as soon as I started walking I ran into this fella, that looks to me like an exceptionally large Kirby cucumber. Yes, I’ve seen many boomerang shaped Lined (Green) Sea Cumbers, but this is a Hairy (Brown) Sea Cucumber, which can be elongated or almost spherical. I have never found an elongated one, and the round ones I have found have all been surf worn and smooth. This one still retains bumps from the tube feet that cover the entire body in life. Sea cucumbers live in shallow burrows an shallow water and are often washed up after rough weather, which makes sense with stormy weather we have had of late. Continue reading

Since when do Blue Crabs have tails?


You are walking along the beach when you spy a dead crab on the sand, and being the curious sort, you stop and have a look. You can tell it is a Blue Crab from the color and shape, and you can tell it is female from the red tipped claw. But wait, what is that sticking out behind? Since when do Blue Crabs have tails? Hmmm…it kinda, sorta looks like an itty bitty lobster tail. Continue reading

Sex (?!) on the beach…


Last night was the new moon and the new moon means spring tides.  Tides are tied (groan) to the lunar cycle, with the highest (and lowest) tides happening every 14 days, at the new and full moons. These large tide swings is referred to as a spring tides. But why is this important you ask? Because Horseshoe Crabs are exceptionally numerous on our beaches during their spring spawning season that runs from March through June, and it is during the spring tides that the mama crabs venture onto the beaches en masse to deposit their eggs in the sand. Continue reading