Save New Smyrna Inlet

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SAVE SMYRNA INLET

The purpose of this web site is to express our concern over the south jetty extension project to be constructed at the Ponce de Leon Inlet. After reviewing the Corps Feasibility Study we have discovered that some of the data relied upon by the Corps in arriving at their recommendations was more than ten years old. In addition, having attended several of the public meetings conducted about the potential adverse impact that the jetty extension project may have on our area both economically and environmentally.

It is our belief that the Feasibility Study did not adequately address several important issues affecting the economy of southeast Volusia County. Of particular concern is the absence of any assessment as to what of any impact the jetty extension project will have on surfing and tourist related industries in New Smyrna Beach.

You may or may not be aware that the area stretching from the south jetty to the Inlet Condominium offers the most consistent and high quality waves in Florida. Surfers from all over Florida and the East Coast visit New Smyrna Beach daily to surf at the inlet. In the past thirty years, the New Smyrna area has become home of many surfing related business providing numerous jobs. This growth is due exclusively to the wave consistency that is found in the inlet. Of equal, if not more importance, is the fact that the many thousands visitors who surf the inlet spend money while they are here that provides a healthy financial transfusion into our local economy. We believe that an extension of the south jetty will have a permanent adverse effect on the wave consistency and quality that is produced at the inlet.

The stabilization of the Ponce de Leon Inlet some thirty years ago created excellent surf breaks on either side of the inlet. The configuration of a lengthy north jetty and short south jetty, both jutting uniquely into the Atlantic Ocean aloe for a focusing of wave energy into a relatively small area that refracts and grows the wave unlike anywhere else in Florida. It is common for the New Smyrna inlet area to enjoy waves while virtually the rest of the entire state is flat. We strongly believe this will be lost if a one thousand foot jetty extension is completed because such an extension will forever block any swell from the north or north east. It stands to reason that a permanent loss of the surf break in New Smyrna will lead to the loss of visitors, revenue and jobs. A review of the Feasibility Study clearly reflects that the Army Corps of Engineers did not consider such an economic impact.

An unrelated but equally important concern is the potential adverse effect such jetty extension may have on the marine estuary west, north and south of the inlet. The Halifax/Indian Rivers estuaries that empty into the Ponce de Leon inlet are both pristine and vital to the production of numerous fish and crustacean species. We are concerned that such issues as larval transport, to and from as far away as the Mosquito Lagoon, were not adequately considered when the jetty extension project was designed. For nearly 10 years just such an issue was thoroughly explored in the Oregon Inlet jetty extension project proposed for the outer banks of North Carolina. There the jetty extension was abandoned because it was ultimately determined by the potential harm outweighed the possible benefits of the project.

Finally, we are concerned that the potential for continued severe erosion south of the inlet, either in spite of or exacerbated by the proposed jetty extension, remains an issue that has not been fully addressed.

These matters are extremely important to all of us. We respectfully request that the Army Corps of Engineers address the concerns expressed in this letter as soon as possible, and certainly before the first rock is lowered into place, by providing proof that our economic and environmental concerns have been both considered and studied adequately.