Posted on January 5, 2021
More projects planned
A beach renourishment in St. Johns County will wrap up soon, but more beach projects are gearing up.
One effort to beef up the coastline began late this year, and sand placement should be finished soon, said Damon Douglas, St. Johns County’s coastal manager. The work stretches from just north of Nease Beachfront Park to around the Ocean Villas in the Serenata Beach community.
“They’re anticipating by just after New Year’s,” he said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has an agreement with St. Johns County for the project, is leading the effort.
Once the sand placement is finished, crews will clear the equipment, including the pipe used to pump sand on the beach, off the coastline. That equipment should be gone some time in February, Douglas said.
The schedule can change because of weather or unforeseen circumstances.
The project was expected to bring about 1.3 million cubic yards of sand to the area. The beach nourishment is expected to be redone every 12 years on average.
Ervin Bullock lives along Coastal Highway with her husband, and the project renourished the beach in front of her home.
“It’s more than we were expecting. … We’ve gained a lot of beach,” she said.
The county is also preparing to start a one-time dune placement just north of the renourishment, and the county would like to begin construction in the summer, Douglas said.
That project will begin north of the renourishment project to about a mile north of Guana River Road, and it was expected to provide about 550,000 cubic yards of sand.
The county also has a shorter-term project underway for a small dune restoration along about 20 miles of the coastline, including Ponte Vedra Beach. That could begin in about six months.
Ponte Vedra Beach residents and the county are also working on a larger beach restoration project. The county is considering using a special taxing district to share the construction cost of that effort with Ponte Vedra Beach residents.
Lori Moffett, leader of the Save Ponte Vedra Beach organization, said Ponte Vedra Beach hotels and rentals contributed a large portion of bed taxes to the county, around $2.5 million, before COVID-19.
“What about the taxes that are currently being generated by the hotels?” Moffett said.
Part of Ponte Vedra Beach has been deemed critically eroded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, but the county supports expanding the designation in that area, Douglas said.
“As you know, the northern end of the county has been extremely neglected forever. We’re losing our beach,” Moffett said.