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Posted on: January 23, 2023

County announces plans for state beach erosion funds

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Volusia County Community Information

For immediate release

Jan. 20, 2023

Media contact: Pat Kuehn

 

County announces plans for state beach erosion funds

 

After suffering unprecedented coastal erosion and more than $852 million in damages from hurricanes Ian and Nicole, Volusia County received some welcome relief. Gov. Ron DeSantis presented a $37.6 million check to county officials on Jan. 18 for use in beach restoration. These funds are on top of $5 million the county recently received for emergency sand placement through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

 

“This generous funding will definitely help us with recovery efforts, and we look forward to stepping up our efforts to replace sand and restore dunes,” said County Manager George Recktenwald.

 

What Volusia County has accomplished

 

After Hurricane Nicole, county officials estimated that beach assets suffered $30.6 million in damages, including: 

  1. 105 of 141 walkovers closed due to damage or destruction
  2. 15 of 17 coastal parks closed due to debris and damage
  3. 33 of 37 beach ramps closed due to damage

 

Volusia County has made significant headway in the past couple months by opening:

  1. 67 of 141 walkovers
  2. 14 coastal parks (Frank Rendon, Edwin W. Peck Sr. and Dahlia parks remain closed)
  3. 13 beach ramps 

 

The county has also been identifying the areas of greatest need for sand replenishment, exploring ways to prevent new sand from washing away, working with oceanfront municipalities to conduct vital pre- and post-storm analyses, and advocating for private property owners with the Florida Legislature.

 

Additionally, county staff is making every effort to maximize federal and state reimbursement and reduce the financial burden on the property owners and county residents. In doing so, staff is adhering to FEMA guidelines with regards to storm response measures.  

 

Volusia County Coastal Director Jessica Fentress was invited to speak to the Florida House and Senate Resiliency Committees on Jan. 19. She drew attention to Volusia County’s coastal destruction and requested full funding of the $77.7 million earmarked for Volusia through the state’s recovery plan. She also requested clarification on permitting questions and advocated for private property needs, which include multiple cost assessments for condo owners, financial burdens for repairs, availability of sand, and ability to build during sea turtle nesting season.

 

Stages agencies provide essential assistance

 

County staff has also been working closely with state agencies to maximize and hasten recovery efforts.

 

  1. The Florida Division of Emergency Management was embedded with county staff after both hurricanes and deployed the Tiger Dam System in Daytona Beach Shores in early December.
  2. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, collaborating with Volusia County, granted permission to implement immediate temporary measures for affected shorelines, held two permitting open houses, and provided immediate assistance with sourcing quality materials, contractors and engineers. The department also developed a comprehensive Hurricane Ian and Nicole Beaches and Dune System Recovery Plan.
  3. The Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) has executed agreements for offloading beach compatible sand from its dredge material management areas and is assisting the county in sourcing additional beach compatible sand areas.
  4. The Florida Department of Transportation is working with Volusia County on the long-term resiliency of the Ocean Shore Boulevard section of State Road A1A in Ormond-by-the-Sea.

 

What’s next?

 

The State of Florida will send a grant agreement to the county, detailing the procedures the county must follow to deploy the $37.6 million in state funds. With this information – and in accordance with the requirements of the grant agreement – staff will present a beach recovery plan to the Volusia County Council for approval and direction.

 

Immediate uses for the state funds include:

  1. Placing sand from FIND’s Edgewater Dredged Material Management Area (DMMA) on critically vulnerable areas of the beach
  2. Deploying sand from FIND’s Rattlesnake Island’s DMMA for on-beach placement
  3. Drafting a feasibility study and project design in line with the state’s recovery plan

 

Staff will meet with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Jan. 25 to discuss the upcoming Intracoastal  Waterway dredge project, repair of the north jetty and a path to partnership on a countywide beach feasibility study. 

 

“Our staff is working feverishly to restore the coast, but this isn’t going to happen overnight,” Recktenwald said. “Our coastline suffered catastrophic damage, and we must work within the confines of state and federal rules. We also have some major obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is finding a huge source of beach compatible sand.” 

 

For more information

 

Residents can get the latest information about beach access and recovery efforts at www.volusia.org/beachrecovery or by downloading the Volusia Beaches app.

 

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