Here's a paper by Dr. Michael Shirley, Director, Guana-Tolamato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, to inform science-based decisions on the misbegotten Summer Haven River Project, now shown to be a failure.
We in the "reality-based community" will no longer accept the unreal assertions by St. Augustine Port Waterway and Beach District (SAPWB), which has NO staff, only contractors.
SAPWB seems to exist primarily to waste and lavish government funds on no-bid, no-contract contractors like Taylor Engineering, Turnbull Environmental, and sorry mendacious mediocrities, to wit, a no-retainer attorney (JAMES BEDSOLE, a/k/a "BEDSLOW") and no-contract Secretary-Treasurer (ELYSE KEMPER).
Here is Dr. Shirley's Summer Haven report:
- 1925: A bridge was placed across the Matanzas inlet and highway A1A was constructed along the oceanfront and the south side of the inlet was hardened. This kept the inlet from moving in its natural southern direction.
- 1932: A channel called the Matanzas Relocation Channel was dug that bypassed a section of the Matanzas River. This dredged canal redirected tidal flow away from the natural river channel (now know as the Summer Haven River).
- 1945-1951: The by-pass channel was cut to 12 feet deep by 125 widths. A Florida Sea Grant Technical Report (Mehta and Jones 1977) gives a rough estimate of 95% redirection of tidal flow away from the Summer Haven River to the ICW.
- 1979 The state abandoned the old stretch of A1A and relocated the road to its present location.
- Sea level has been inching up. Estimates Mehta and Jones (1977) provide an approximation of 1.2 inches a decade since 1870 this has been accelerating in recent decades. Sea level increases caused a landward migration of the shoreline and a steeping of the shoreline profile.
- 1964 Hurricane Dora broke through Rattlesnake Island (this island separates the Summer Haven River from the ICW) and widened to 310 feet by 1976 when work was begun to close the breakthrough. Flow to the Summer Haven River was further redirected. Mehta and Jones (1977) estimated tidal flow in the river is approximately 5% of the total coming in the Matanzas Inlet.
- Do nothing: Let the area equilibrate to whatever the physical conditions allow.
- Restore the Summer Haven River to original depths and create oyster reef, mudflat and marsh habitats.
- Consider a modified Summer Haven River restoration project similar to the oxbow restoration project completed on the Loxahatchee River. Two sections (north and south portion) of the river, with existing tidal connections, could be reconnected under A1A via culverts or bridges.