Miami-Dade allows feds’ dredging of Haulover Sandbar to replenish Bal Harbour Beach

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The party at Haulover Sandbar will soon come to an end.

Miami-Dade County commissioners voted on Thursday to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to scoop out the sand to be used for beach erosion control and hurricane protection in Bal Harbour Beach.

“It’s devastating because people in Miami they love the sandbar,” Ben Maloul said. “I come here all of the time, so I hope they are going to cancel whatever they’re supposed to do.”

Engineers are pushing forward with the project. That was painful for Jose Vega who operates Shawarma at Haulover, a popular food boat that has been serving ceviche, pita wraps, falafel, and other healthy options to regulars at the sandbar for years.

“It’s going to shut my business down. People come to the Haulover Sandbar basically because there is sand, basically, you can hang out in the middle of the Intracoastal,” Vega said.

The Bal Harbour Beach Renourishment project includes placing more than 200,000 cubic yards of sand along the shoreline. About 100,000 cubic yards of sand will come from the Haulover Sandbar, also known as the Haulover Park Inlet and Marina Flood Shoal.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the man-made Bakers Haulover Inlet Channel, which connects the northern end of Biscayne Bay with the ocean, is also in need of maintenance dredging to deepen the navigable waterways.

Hundreds of boats anchored and partying at Haulover Inlet sandbar on Saturday during coronavirus state of emergency. (WPLG)

In a Thursday memo to a commissioner, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava wrote the dredging will deepen the area by about three to six feet, but that won’t last forever. She said the coastal beach sand will continue to wash in and reaccumulate in about five years.

The Bal Harbour project is part of the Army Corps’ $158.3 million in beach renourishment projects that the federal government is fully funding in Miami-Dade County.

About the Authors:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.