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Orchid benefits twice by Indian River County doing $12 million beach-renourishment project

Beaches in Orchid took a hit from Hurricane Dorian and then another one-two punch from "king tides" and a storm in January. The repair cost now is more than $443,000. TCPALM/JANET BEGLEY

Posted on December 8, 2020

“They anticipate starting around Jan. 4 and going through April 30, which, as we all know, is turtle season, so they are going to have to have some special inspections and people watching out for turtle nests,” said Powers. “They’ll identify if there are turtle nests in our area and along the entire beach, and they will either work around them or reposition them someplace else.”

All residents with beachfront property in in the project area have given access agreements or easements to Indian River County, allowing work on the beaches to commence quickly.

“In other sectors, some individuals have chosen not to agree or even not to respond,” said Powers. “But in Sector 3, residents have been very proactive in getting that information in to the county, and that’s one of the reasons they’ve been able to move forward so quickly with this project.”

Had the town moved forward on its own beach renourishment project, it would have required permits from the state, which could have taken months, Powers said.

“That was one of our concerns,” he said. “In the past five years when we’ve done beach projects, we had obtained emergency permits because the governor issued a state of emergency due to storms. But this time, there was no state emergency declared, and had the county not approved this project, we would have had to start a rather lengthy approval process to move forward.”

Vice Mayor Paul Knapp said when the town itself undertakes a beach renourishment project, all it can do is replace what has been lost to a recent storm.

“So if we have a storm and we lose 4 feet, all we can do is replace 4 feet,” said Knapp. “But the county can get permits to rebuild the beach beyond what it used to be, and that’s good. ”

Janet Begley is a local freelance writer. If you like articles like this and other TCPalm coverage of Treasure Coast news, please support our journalism and subscribe now.

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