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After 20 years, Flagler County, agency partners break ground on Army Corps beach renourishment project

Posted on June 19, 2024

After over 20 years, Flagler County officials, alongside multiple agency and state and local representatives, broke ground on the county’s beach renourishment project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Army Corps will be restoring a 3.5-mile stretch of Flagler County’s beaches over the summer months. County Commission Chair Andy Dance said the beach renourishment project was the result of local officials, multiple state agencies and the county’s state representatives working together.

“This really is a monumental project for Flagler County,” Dance said. “It really exemplifies the collaboration that it takes for projects like this to come to fruition.”

The groundbreaking ceremony was held in Flagler Beach at Veteran’s park on June 17.

Representatives from the county, Flagler Beach, Palm Coast, the Army Corps, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management all attended the ceremony.

Dance also thank the county’s state representatives — including State Rep. Paul Renner, Sen. Travis Hutson, Rep. Tom Leek and Congressman Mike Waltz — for their help securing funding for the project. Waltz was also attended the ceremony.


The Army Corps first began a shoreline study of Flagler County back in 2002 which was not completed until 2014. The study showed a 2.6-mile area that would receive the renourishment.

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit. The Corps secured funding for the project in 2018, and, in 2019, adjusted its plans to allow for more sand: a total of 595,000 cubic yards.

In March 2020, the Army Corps of Engineers was ready to move forward, but the county government was still struggling to get beachfront property owners to sign easements that would let the workers access their land.

Flagler Beach Commission Chair Scott Spradley, in his capacity as a bankruptcy lawyer, was hired by the county to help secure the final easements needed for the renourishment. Those easements were secured in February 2023.

Because it had been almost 10 years between the study and design of the project, the Army Corps reevaluated how much sand the renourishment would require in January 2023.

The Army Corps’ renourishment project will build the dunes up to 19 feet high — one foot taller than the pier’s current elevation — and build a sloped berm, the “towel space” portion of the beach, to 140 feet wide.

The 140 feet does not include the sand the Army Corps will add that extends into the surf.

The sand will be pumped from an approved site around eight miles offshore by a hopper dredge. The dredge works like a vacuum to suck sand up into the hull of the ship and then the sand is sent through a pipeline to the beach.

Working with the Army Corps, the county negotiated to have an additional mile of beach renourished with sand, though not as much sand as the Army Corps’ 2.6 miles. The Army Corps project is the first in the county’s four-phase beach renourishment and management plan.

With the groundbreaking, the project is almost ready to go. FDOT project manager Jason Harrah said the project contractor’s will begin work at the southern-most section of project at Pebble Beach and work north in 1,500-foot sections. Harrah said 11 gopher turtle burrows have been found in the Pebble Beach area that need to be relocated.

The first leg of the project could begin sometime in the next few weeks, Harrah said, once the gopher turtles have been relocated.

“Once that’s done they can mobilize at the staging area, most likely start pumping sand sometime in late June and then work their way north,” he said.

Harrah said the contractors have an obligation to be finished with the areas surrounding the Flagler Beach pier before October, as that is when the pier’s restoration project is expected to begin.

Barring weather complications, he said, the contractors could be done with sections surrounding the pier by September.

Additionally, he said, Veteran’s Park in Flagler Beach, located across from the pier, will no longer be a staging area for the project. Instead, Harrah said, the contractor has agreed to use a vacant lot south of Snack Jack’s restaurant in Flagler Beach for the sections on the south side of the pier, then at 6th Street when they get to the pier.

While the 1,500-foot sections are under construction, the section under construction will be closed to the public while the rest of the beach areas will remain open, he said. The contractor will also either have a security team or work with local law enforcement to remind people in the water to stay clear of the area.

A public meeting providing details on the renourishment project — including showing sand samples of what will be on the beach after the project is complete, Harrah said — will be held at the Santa Maria Del Mar Church at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25.


The 2024 hurricane season is projected to be much more active than the average, according to data from the National Hurricane Center. Harrah said should a hurricane hit Flagler County’s shores, the vessels dredging the sand will be moved to the harbors there during any storms.

As for the beaches, Harrah said, if the project is still under construction when a storm hits, an analysis of how much sand is washed away will take place.

Depending on how much sand is lost, the Army Corps would then go to the county and review if it would be feasible to restore that washed away sand while the project is still in the works. In that case, Harrah said, the cost would be split 65% on the federal side and 35% on the county’s side.

Once the construction is completed, he said, any major erosion reconstruction is covered at 100% federal cost, he said.

The contract with the Army Corps covers major renourishments after storms at 100% federal cost for 50 years. Also within that 50-year period, the Army Corps will periodically conduct surveys on the 2.6-mile stretch to ensure additional renourishment isn’t needed.

The sand  added to the beach from the Army Corps project will drastically extend the width of the beaches available for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

But the project is more than that, U.S. Army Corps Col. James Booth said.

“We all agree that is an amazing benefit to beach nourishment projects,” Booth said, “but the Army Corps of Engineers sees an infrastructure project.”

He said the reconstruction of the dunes and beach will provide necessary protection to the businesses, residences and the environment along Flagler County’s shoreline. It will also, he said, protect State Road A1A — a critical hurricane evacuation route.

“A $27 million project that — is a significant chunk of money that we all give as citizens of the United States,” he said. “[This project is] going to provide the protection that the members of our nation have invested in it.”


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