Posted on December 18, 2023
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — Officials in Indian River County are closely keeping an eye on the crashing waves and gusting winds expected during this weekend’s storms amid fears the wet weather could once again chip away at the beaches the county recently spent millions of dollars to restore.
In November, the County began Sector 3 of their Beach and Dune Restoration project to restore sand loss from past hurricanes, on 6.6 miles of shoreline—a $13 million project.
Yet Friday, powerful wind and smacking swells once again pummeled Wabasso Beach and other shorelines, leading to more expectations of erosion.
“It’s really unfortunate to see, it’s really tricky to build a beach when it’s, at the same time, being eroded away,” Quinton Bergman, Indian River County’s coastal resource manager, said.
Bergman said the project, a step forward, is now on hold as Mother Nature once again pounds away, taking the county’s one step forward and two steps back.
Heather Gaubin describes the shock of seeing the high waves on Wabasso Beach in Indian River County, Fla.
Still, Bergman isn’t too worried.
“This is why we do dune nourishment,” he said. “If we don’t do this the beach and dune just continue to erode, so it’s a maintenance process.”
Several residents in the area came out to film the waves and watch the wind during Friday’s nasty weather.
“It’s crazy, it’s just crazy, it’s volatile,” Stacy Slazes said.
“The first thing I said when we sat down was those waves are huge,” Heather Gaubin added.
Todd Breland came to check out the swells, and said as an avid hurricane watcher, he hadn’t seen many waves like the ones crashing onto Wabasso Beach’s shores.
Todd Breland explains hows he was in awe by the waves at Wabasso Beach in Indian River County, Fla. on Dec. 15, 2023.
“This is amazing to witness, it really is,” Breland said.
“Wow, you don’t see it like that often, and there’s no beach left,” Slazes added.
Still, residents had faith beaches will bounce back once the storm passes and the restoration project continues.
“There’s repercussions to Mother Nature’s wrath, but we’re not going to change things, this is the way things happen,” Breland said.
Bergman said the contractor for the restoration project is expected to resume work on Dec. 18, and said no matter how much damage the beaches sustain, it shouldn’t affect the cost of the project.