Posted on April 19, 2023
Engineers in Flagler County are in the middle of about a half dozen dune nourishment projects after hurricanes in recent years took huge amounts of them.
In the northern part of the county, engineers had just started two projects but the weather system this week has now pushed their progress back even further.
The county engineer, Faith Alkhatib, said they spent years working to secure the funding and materials for the two projects and they finally started placing the sand in January, but she said about 50% of that sand was taken right back out to the ocean from this week’s weather system.
“As far as I am concerned, it’s finished. We don’t have any funding at this time to come back and do above and beyond what we did recently,” she said.
Alkhatib said one of the projects was about a mile and a half stretch near MalaCompra Park and the other was a one-mile stretch near Washington Oaks State Park.
Some of the funding came in recently after Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and engineers were finally able to get the sand. She said it wasn’t a waste though.
“If you want to keep our beaches, our dunes, this is the only option we do have at this time,” she said.
Alkhatib said while much of the dunes were lost this week, they still protected the homes and there was no flooding.
They’re weaker now, though, ahead of any storm that could come in the future.
“The quantity is supposed to be at least 10 times what we have there. We’re doing the best with what we have,” she said.
There could be hope on the horizon with funding coming in from more recent hurricanes for these two projects again.
“There’s a lot of funding coming into Flagler County from DEP, FEMA. So we are working on a major project,” she said.
These are just two of about a half dozen projects Alkhatib considers short-term solutions. She said they are planning to do a major dredging operation for about 11 miles of coastline in the future but it comes with a big price tag.
“To do a project of that magnitude, we are talking about at least an $100 million project and at this time we do not have that money but we are working toward that goal,” she said.