Jacksonville, Fla. – The Duval County Shore Protection to restore critically eroded beaches and dunes to their original engineered design is now complete.
The project placed roughly 850,000 cubic yards of sand on about 8 miles of eroded beaches, including Jacksonville, Neptune and Atlantic beaches and the southern mile of Hanna Park.
The goal of engineered shore projects is to reduce risk and promote resilience in coastal communities. Shore projects help to reduce the damages – economic, environmental, infrastructure, human health and safety – of tropical storms and hurricanes. Thousands of residents and businesses in Duval County benefit from this shore project because storm events erode the beach rather than damaging or destroying coastal infrastructure. Coastal communities with engineered beaches have historically fared much better than other communities as proven by numerous studies.
Along with providing economic stability and opportunities, beach nourishment projects also have inherent benefits in restoring critical habitat for shorebird and marine turtle nesting.
This renourishment project included the full restoration of the engineer design and is 100 percent federally funded via the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act (Public Law 84-99) and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-123). Between these two authorities, the total Federal funding allocation for the Corps’ Jacksonville District for hurricane recovery efforts so far exceeds $4 billion. Jacksonville District received a $3.348 billion allocation July 5 for long-term recovery investments in its area of responsibility, which includes Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This funding will go towards 14 studies and 19 projects that will help reduce flood risk to communities damaged by storm events.
The City of Jacksonville fully funded an additional $1.7 million to renourish portions of dunes from St. Johns County to Atlantic Beach and up to Hanna Park as part of the restoration project. Dune work included repairs to existing dunes, new construction of dunes, and vegetation repairs and planting.
The Duval County project was initially constructed in 1978-80 and since then, six principal renourishments occurred (1985-87, 1991, 1995, 2005, 2011 and 2016-17) in addition to periodic placement of maintenance-dredged sand. Beach renourishment normally occurs about every five to six years to maintain beaches as part of the project. Most renourishments are cost-shared in partnership with the City of Jacksonville, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and Duval County; and are funded 38.4 percent locally and 61.6 percent federally. Due to Hurricane Irma, the project was eligible for 100 percent Federal funding.
Florida beaches had an annual recreational value of about $50 billion in 2013. Erosion is the number one concern beach tourists have about beaches. In areas where eroded beaches were restored, tourist visits and revenues increased.
For more information about Corps coastal resiliency projects, visit www.saj.usace.army.mil. Also stay tuned-in for more Jacksonville District information by joining the team on social media at www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict; and, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JaxStrong.