U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin Duval County Beach Project

Published July 8, 2011

One of America’s best beaches to get better and last longer



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 8, 2011) – Dredging to renourish two portions of the Duval County Beach Project will begin today.


Approximately 255,000 cubic yards of sand from an off-shore source will be placed in Atlantic Beach between 19th Street and Lemon. Another 480,000 cubic yards of sand will be placed in Jacksonville Beach between South Avenue and the St. Johns County line.


“I just got off the phone with the contractor, Great Lakes Dock and Dredge,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractor liaison Jim Vecchitto said Thursday afternoon. “They will use two dredges, the Dodge Island and the Padre Island. The Dodge Island will be ready to go Friday morning and the Padre Island will be ready in the afternoon.”


The $11 million project will take about two months to complete.


“This project was honored in 2009 as one of the nation’s best restored beaches,” said Corps Project Manager Steve Ross. “It has a long and successful track record dating back into the 1970’s.”


“The Duval County project was a prime example of how successful renourishments can be. Back in 2004 when several hurricanes and nor’easters eroded Florida’s Atlantic beaches significantly, we took an immediate assessment of the impacts. What it showed us was that buildings and property behind federal projects were relatively unharmed whereas those building and properties not behind federal projects received serious damage. The beach recreation opportunities provided by these projects are added benefits. ”


“It has been six years since this beach project was last renourished,” said Ross. “The average time between projects is usually about five years so it has held up well, with the exception of several spots in Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach, which are in need of additional sand.”


Ross explained that timing of beach renourishment efforts is often dictated by external circumstances.


“Beach projects don’t always get the funding requested for renourishment,” Ross said. “Duval was one of the few in the nation that received funding for construction. And since it is so expensive to mobilize a dredge and associated gear for a renourishment project, it is practical to put as much sand on the beach as possible when you can, rather than spot treating.”


According to Ross, the schedule for the project is often dictated by the dredging industry, which has finite equipment in constant demand nationwide. Ross said the cost of renourishing a beach in the summertime, due to calmer sea conditions, is often less than winter renourishment efforts. Federal and state agencies have determined that due to Jacksonville’s relatively low marine turtle nesting density, dredging in the summer is allowed with certain monitoring requirements.


Ross noted that to comply with all federal and state laws on the turtle nesting issue, the contractor is required to monitor marine turtle nesting activity daily. Any nest identified after construction begins will be relocated by an authorized permit holder.

Release no. 11-40