Beach of Saint Jean

Civil Engineering Government Rehabilitation of the Beach Sand Ecosystem

Erosion as Serious Threat
Once just a minor nuisance, years of beach erosion had begun to seriously threaten nearby buildings and businesses as well as the beach of Saint-Jean itself. Simple re-sanding operations had already failed in earlier efforts.
Erosion on Beach of Saint-Jean before rehabilitation by Bureau Xavier David.

Erosion on Beach of Saint-Jean before rehabilitation by Bureau Xavier David.

Erosion on Beach of Saint-Jean before rehabilitation by Bureau Xavier David.

Erosion on Beach of Saint-Jean before rehabilitation by Bureau Xavier David.

Strategy of Rehabilitation
A new strategy of rehabilitation for the beach was begun with a first step of recapturing sand currently drifting out to sea on the bottom of the bay of Saint-Jean and using a boat to pump it back to the beach. Normally, the ecosystem is a cycle of sand shifting back-and-forth with the wind & waves between sea and beach in a natural balance. 
Sand pumped to the Beach of Saint-Jean during rehabilitation by Bureau Xavier David.

Sand pumped to the Beach of Saint-Jean during rehabilitation by Bureau Xavier David.

Boat in Saint-Jean Bay pumping sand to the beach during rehabilitation by Bureau Xavier David.

Boat in Saint-Jean Bay pumping sand to the beach during rehabilitation by Bureau Xavier David.

Multi-Step Ecosystem Rebalance
Unfortunately, loss of seagrass combined with a dying barrier reef strained the ecosystem and led to the drastic erosion. In addition to the sand excavation efforts, steps to re-grow the coral of the barrier reef and restore seagrass are underway. Collectively, the timely intervention of these actions rebalance a natural cycle that had simply fallen out of sync.
Project specifications
Construction Manager Bureau Xavier David
Contractor Dragage Caraïbes
Photographer Bureau Xavier David
Project Location Saint-Jean, Saint-Barthélemy
Project Size 50 000 cubic meters (1, 765,000 cubic feet) of sand pumped
Project Year 2011
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