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U.S Army Corps of Engineers shares early details of resiliency study with St. Augustine residents

Posted on February 27, 2023

Flooding is always a concern for people living in St. Augustine.

“Our property and our neighbors’ properties have flooded for each of the last major hurricanes since Matthew in 2016. The king tides are affecting us with flooding, so everybody is concerned,” said St. Augustine resident, Ted Mooney.

Many residents spoke with City of St. Augustine official and members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the first of many meetings over three years to address the city’s resiliency.

“We’re looking at a comprehensive solution not only to protect the bay front which is the historic downtown tourist area, but we want to protect the city as a whole and its residents,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers senior project manager, Jason Harrah.

Harrah shared potential solutions with residents.

“We want to hear what are your concerns about various alternatives? Which may be flood walls or raising people’s houses or buying people’s houses out or natural and nature-based features such as mangroves or wetlands or oyster reefs. We want to hear what kind of alternatives that they may think will work what are their concerns with the study process,” Harrah said.

The three-year plan is separated into four phases:

1. Scoping Phase: Currently the army corps of engineers is gathering public input and what concerns people have. Harrah said 90 days from the start of the project (Jan. 9), the army corps of engineers will decide if the study can be complete in three or four years.

2. Alternative Evaluation and Analysis: Includes coming up with a comprehensive plan for the city while also addressing factors such as effectiveness, risk reduction, and cost among other variables.

3. Feasibility-Level Analysis: Presenting the recommended plan to Congress after approval from the army corps of engineers’ office in Washington D.C.

4. Chief’s Report: The Chief of Engineers will sign off on the report and send it to the Pentagon, then to the Office of Management Budget at the White House, and then finally to Congress for final approval.

People applauded as the meeting wrapped up. It’s early in the process, but so far, the people of St. Augustine feel like they’re being heard.

“It’s so exciting, I’m so excited that this is going to happen,” St. Augustine resident, Robyn Mooney, said. “Three years sounds like a long time, four years sound like a long time before approval, and then it’s going to take time to build whatever is decided on, but I’m so excited that St. Augustine is going to get the attention it needs.”

Federal funds are being used to pay for the study which is expected to cost $3 million. The City of St. Augustine said it won’t have an estimate for how much the improvements will cost at this point of the study.

Residents can submit public comment for the first phase of the Back Bay study via email at

Those submissions end March 10.


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