Geology Expert Witnesses On Palm Beach Project

Palm Beach Florida and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are seeking $17 million for a beach project to protect properties vulnerable to storm damage. The town says the beach was damaged by the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 but it is being challenged by petitioners seeking to block the town’s plans to rebuild the Reach 8 shoreline south of Phipps Ocean Park.

Dr. Robert Dean, retired University of Florida professor of civil and coastal engineering, says a full reconstruction is necessary at the Reach 8 shoreline. Dean, author of “Beach Nourishment: Theory and Practice,” warns that if the plan is not carried out, the beach is going to continue to erode and there won’t be any nesting sea turtles, property protection or recreation. Dean challenged the expertise of two geology expert witnesses expected to testify for the petitioners. Dr. Orrin Pilkey, a geologist at Duke University, and Dr. Robert Young, director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, will testify that it is impossible to predict how renourished beaches will perform.