Posted on September 8, 2022
The City of Flagler Beach is taking steps to ease erosion near one of its most popular locations.
Sand dunes have recently appeared as 6 feet tall, unstable cliffs. Many local leaders and residents say they’ve never seen anything like it.
“It’s starting to eat into the vegetation, which is the most critical part of the dune because that’s what holds the dune together and protects us if we have a storm,” City of Flagler Beach Mayor Suzie Johnston said.
To try and help ease the changes
The city is bringing in Army Corps engineers to begin mobilizing the area in December and unloading extra sand in June next year.
They’re hopeful the efforts will help strengthen the sand dunes.
“We’re not used to just waking up one day and finding the beach gone in perfect weather,” said Flagler Beach resident Scott Spradley.
Every morning for the last 12 years, Spradley has started his day by taking sunrise pictures of the ocean.
The morning routine is his opportunity to take in the peace and calm of listening to the waves.
“And it’s a good way to kick off the rest of the day,” he said.
One of the visuals capturing his and his neighbors’ attention is the dunes near Flagler Pier.
It’s a sight that may be normal to see after a hurricane or strong storm, but neither of those has been an issue recently.
Instead, erosion has slowly been eating away at the beach. It is pushing the sand that once could be walked out into the ocean.
“As you get close to the pier, it just drops off,” said Spradley as he viewed the beach from above with a drone taking pictures.
Johnston is a third-generation Flagler Beach resident. She says the erosion has gotten to the point that visitors can’t set up a beach chair or tent on the beach right now.
“The difference between this beach erosion and previous beach erosions that I’ve experienced is the drop off of what you see here is typically further out. It’s halfway down the beach,” said Johnston.
Once the Army Corps arrive, the goal is to provide extra support for the vegetation in the dunes.
And more sand means a stronger foundation.
“It’s a critical point of our dune. It’s what really holds it together and protects us if a storm comes. So losing that vegetation leaves us in a very vulnerable position,” Johnston said.
As efforts to solve the erosion form, residents like Spradley are hopeful this is all part of the course of nature that evens itself out later in the year.
“These surfers would tell you that all the sand that’s normally right here is maybe 100 feet off the beach.”