The Duval County Shore Protection 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. The beach renourishment occurs about every five to six years to maintain beaches at their original design as part of the project. The renourishment is funded in partnership with the City of Jacksonville, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and Duval County; funded 38.4 percent locally and 61.6 percent federally. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the project throughout its 50-year lifecycle.
The goal of engineered shore projects is to reduce risk and promote coastal resilience. 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 destroying coastal infrastructure. Coastal communities with engineered beaches have historically fared much better than other communities as proven by numerous studies.
Each renourishment corresponds to an engineer-designed template so that when storms occur, they affect the sand placement in the template and reduce impacts to the underlying beach foundation and landside infrastructure. The engineer design, which takes wave and tidal flow into consideration, makes best use of the natural system to preserve sand on the beach.
Along with providing economic stability and opportunities, beach nourishment projects also have inherent benefits in restoring critical habitat. It provides more sand for endangered sea turtles, which normally nest on the same beach where they hatch, to find sufficient areas for nesting. Several species of shorebirds also nest along the beach. And, of course, the beach is essential to the area’s economic driver, tourism.
The 2016-17 Project Description: The Duval County shore protection project nourished eroded beaches and rebuilt dunes devastated by Hurricane Matthew’s passing in October 2016. The City of Jacksonville funded the additional dune work that included building dunes in Jacksonville, Neptune and a portion of Atlantic Beach. More than a million cubic yards of sand – equivalent to more than 2.7 billion pounds – was dredged, piped and tilled across about ten miles of county shoreline. Roughly 860,000 cubic yards went to building the beach and another 200,000 cubic yards went to rebuilding dunes. Construction started in mid-September 2016 to widen the beach berm between 20 to 60 feet, and raise the elevation of the beach by about 3 to 5 feet. In early October, Hurricane Matthew swept by and devastated much of the county’s beaches. The City and the Corps took swift actions to recover and move forward with surveys and a contract that included dune work. Dredging stopped in December as originally scheduled, and resumed again in April 2017. Dredging was completed on May 24. The contractor excavated sand from four offshore borrow areas located in federal waters. Construction is estimated at $13.57 million.
Authority: Section 103 of Public Law 89‐298, Oct. 27, 1965, authorizes the entire SPP.
First Constructed: 1980
Cost share: 61.6% federal and 38.4% non-federal