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Volusia County study to identify most vulnerable areas along coast, analyze ways to protect beaches

Posted on February 14, 2024

Volusia County continues looking for ways to protect the coastline.

Now, an engineering firm has been hired to look for weak spots on the beaches.

Taylor Engineering was hired to identify and address the county’s most vulnerable coastline areas and propose long-term solutions to storm impacts and coastal erosion.

This was funded by using $462,655 in grant funds the County received from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection following the hurricanes.

Jessica Fentress, Volusia County Coastal Director, said this is the first time since the 1980s that an assessment of this magnitude on the beaches has been done.

It’s something that is needed to determine what are the best ways to protect the coast.

“Will we have continued development?” Fentress said. “Will we have a submerged, artificial reef? Will we have sand placement projects where we do dune enhancement projects? We know that beach driving is very critical to our identity in Volusia County. There are millions of methods to still have a resilient coastline while maintaining beach driving, but we want to know what people want to see.”

Fentress said they’re asking residents for their input so they can create a beach management plan.

Once this plan is completed in about a year, Fentress says there will be a ranking of the most critical areas on the coast.

In a press release from Volusia County, they list out what exactly Taylor Engineering will study to determine the most vulnerable areas.

The press release states, “Taylor Engineering will analyze historic shoreline trends, erosion and accretion rates, and community-specific sand characteristics. A risk assessment will focus on the proximity of seawalls, buildings, and other structures to the changing shoreline. This evaluation aims to identify coastal areas requiring immediate and prioritized attention. The scope of the assessment will encompass an examination of a range of management measures, including but not limited to structures like groins, breakwaters, seawalls, and ecological solutions such as submerged artificial reefs, beach nourishment, and dune enhancements.”

“Then it will put together recommendations on what will physically work with those site conditions,” Fentress said. “What works for Daytona will not work for Ormond-by-the-Sea. What works for Ponce Inlet does not work for Bethune Beach.”

Things as simple as sand are different on each beach, so knowing that each one has to be managed differently will be a great first step in protecting Volusia County’s coast and it’ll keep tourist coming back.


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