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Flagler Beach receives additional $18M to restore its dunes

Posted on June 26, 2023

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has allocated an additional $18 million for dune restoration in Flagler County.

“This is really a blessing for the residents of Flagler County,” Faith Alkhatib, a Flagler County engineer, said.

And a blessing is far better than the curse of Mother Nature when recent hurricanes and storms stole precious sand from the shoreline, leaving cliffs where dunes used to be. The county previously got $12 million from FEMA for emergency sand, but that amounts to maybe 6 cubic yards per foot, which isn’t very resilient. With $17 million previously promised by FDEP and now $18 million on top of that, the county can create a stronger system.

“That will be for a long-term plan for Flagler County to come in and try and rebuild the dunes and the beaches to protect the residents,” Alkhatib said.

An Army Corps of Engineers project is underway to renourish dunes in Flagler Beach, so the FDEP project will cover 11.6 miles north of that up to the St. Johns County border. And it will be a dredging operation using what’s called a hopper, suctioning compatible sand from an identified area 10 miles off the coast.

“Dredging is going to be much more cost effective, much more beneficial to the environment. We can get much more quantities,” Alkhatib said.

Officials believe they will have an additional $6 million to work with for a total of $41 million that doesn’t have to be locally matched. With that kind of money, they can place 40, even 60 cubic yards of sand per foot for a much hardier dune line. Engineers say the county could really use over $100 million to build the protective sand barrier, but with half that, officials say they can make a good start.

“This is what we can afford at this time,” Alkhatib said.

The county will advertise for engineering services for the project, then do design and permitting, which will take about 18 months. The dredging should start in 2025.


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