FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. -

The Army Corps of Engineers says it will be expensive to fix beach erosion problems along Flagler County's shoreline.

A new report estimates it will cost $43.4 million over 50 years to create a 10-foot seaward extension of existing dune and berm. Army Corps project manager Jason Harrah told the Daytona Beach News-Journal the plan faces hurdles as it heads to Congress for reviews.
    
Officials say appropriation is slated for 2016, with construction beginning in 2017 at the earliest.
    
The plan calls for construction in phases. The initial construction would be followed by four "periodic renourishments" over 50 years.
    
Officials say dune erosion has been a problem in the area for decades. Department of Transportation officials estimate $1.25 million a year was spent between 2004, when several hurricanes hit, and 2007, when nor'easters threatened the roadway, for coquina boulders, large rocks and sand to shore up the eastern side of State Road A1A.
    
"The roadway never fell off into the ocean, but at times storms ate away at the dunes right to the roadway," Bob Pickering, a longtime emergency management technician with Flagler County Emergency Services, told the News-Herald. "We'd close the road, because you really don't need people driving on it when it is like that."
    
Not everyone is thrilled with the Corps' plan. But Flagler Beach City Commissioner Kim Carney is resigned to the fact that it will eventually happen.
    
"We have $3.5 million invested in it," Carney said. "It's continuing. That's a fact of life."
    
The newspaper reported that the federal government will pay 65 percent of the first phase's $14 million cost and 50 percent after that for the "rebuild," which will be between $8 and $9 million every 11 years or so over a 50-year period. The remainder would be covered by "nonfederal" funding sources that will be divvied up between county and state agencies.
    
The study began in 2004, after a series of hurricanes that started with Hurricane Charley, hit the coast."The roadway never fell off into the ocean, but at times storms ate away at the dunes right to the roadway," said Bob Pickering, a longtime emergency management technician with Flagler County Emergency Services. "We'd close the road, because you really don't need people driving on it when it is like that."
    
Not everyone is thrilled with the Corps' plan, but Flagler Beach City Commissioner Kim Carney is resigned to the fact that the proposed dune restoration project, which includes 2.6 miles of shoreline in Flagler Beach from 7th Street South to South 28th Street, will eventually happen.
    
"We have $3.5 million invested in it," Carney said. "It's continuing. That's a fact of life."
    
OPTIONS EXPLORED
    
Several years ago, some Flagler Beach officials favored a proposal by Dick Holmberg and Holmberg Technologies for an undercurrent stabilizer system. But after Holmberg was paid $50,000 to create a study and report, that favor waned. Commissioners called his numbers arbitrary and voted to discontinue working with him.
    
Other options mentioned occasionally include moving State Road A1A to the west, but that is considered "unrealistic."
    
"It would be cost prohibitive," Alkhatib said.
    
When the time comes for the Army Corps to build, some 320,000 cubic yards of sand will be "brought in by dredge and placed on the beach," pulling sand from about 7 miles due east of the Flagler Pier, Harrah said.
    
Carol Fisher, owner of BeachHouse Beanery, located just north of the proposed project site, has no concerns.
    
"I've lived here for 10 years and there has always been a plan," she said. "It will be at least several years before they raise the money. It's still all a big question mark."
    
WHAT'S NEXT
    
The federal government will pay 65 percent of the first phase's $14 million cost and 50 percent after that for the "rebuild," which will be between $8 and $9 million every 11 years or so over a 50-year period. The remainder would be covered by "nonfederal" funding sources that will be divvied up between county and state agencies.
    
The Corps' study began in 2004, after a series of hurricanes that started with Hurricane Charley.
    
The Corps received about 50 comments from residents, government officials and environmental groups about its study during the open comment period, Harrah said.
    
Flagler Beach Mayor Linda Provencher during a February public hearing asked if "the same project" had been done elsewhere. While her question was answered, that Brevard and Martin counties have similar projects but wider beaches, comments such as that and their answers will be included in the report.
    
All of the comments will be addressed in a final report that should be completed by the end of this month. After an "agency tech" review and an Army Corps South Atlanta Division review in mid-July, it "will go to D.C." where a presentation will be made to Army Gen. Thomas Bostick and Major Gen. John Peabody, Harrah said.
    
"All of this is congressionally mandated," Harrah said.
    
The project won't get funded until it has "an authorization bill," he said. That is usually done through the U.S. House and Senate transportation and infrastructure committees.
    
"At that point, it's all up to Congress," Harrah said.
    
U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, whose 6th District covers most St. Johns and Flagler counties and much of Volusia County, declined repeated requests for comment regarding the plan or its funding.
    
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson expressed support for the project.
    
"Our beaches help drive the area's and our state's tourism-driven economy," Nelson said. "It makes sense to find ways to preserve and protect them."
    
Part-time residents Bob and Karen O'Connell agree.
    
"I don't think it can hurt," Bob O'Connell said.
    
Karen said they bought their house, which is a stone's throw from the proposed project area, about four years ago.
    
"The beach is declining," she said. "Now when it's high tide, you're right at the rocks."
    
OPTIONS EXPLORED
    
Several years ago, some Flagler Beach officials favored a proposal by Dick Holmberg and Holmberg Technologies for an undercurrent stabilizer system. But after Holmberg was paid $50,000 to create a study and report, that favor waned. Commissioners called his numbers arbitrary and voted to discontinue working with him.
    
Other options mentioned occasionally include moving State Road A1A to the west, but that is considered "unrealistic."
    
"It would be cost prohibitive," Alkhatib said.
    
When the time comes for the Army Corps to build, some 320,000 cubic yards of sand will be "brought in by dredge and placed on the beach," pulling sand from about 7 miles due east of the Flagler Pier, Harrah said.
    
Carol Fisher, owner of BeachHouse Beanery, located just north of the proposed project site, has no concerns.
    
"I've lived here for 10 years and there has always been a plan," she said. "It will be at least several years before they raise the money. It's still all a big question mark."
    
WHAT'S NEXT
    
The federal government will pay 65 percent of the first phase's $14 million cost and 50 percent after that for the "rebuild," which will be between $8 and $9 million every 11 years or so over a 50-year period. The remainder would be covered by "non-federal" funding sources that will be divvied up between county and state agencies.
    
The Corps' study began in 2004, after a series of hurricanes that started with Hurricane Charley.
    
The Corps received about 50 comments from residents, government officials and environmental groups about its study during the open comment period, Harrah said.
    
Flagler Beach Mayor Linda Provencher during a February public hearing asked if "the same project" had been done elsewhere. While her question was answered verbally, that Brevard and Martin counties have similar projects but wider beaches, comments such as that and their answers will be included in the report.
    
All of the comments will be addressed in a final report that should be completed by the end of the month. After an "agency tech" review and an Army Corps South Atlanta Division review in mid-July, it "will go to D.C." where a presentation will be made to Army Gen. Thomas Bostick and Major Gen. John Peabody, Harrah said.
    
"All of this is congressionally mandated," Harrah said.
    
The project won't get funded until it has "an authorization bill," he said. That is usually done through the U.S. House and Senate transportation and infrastructure committees.
    
"At that point, it's all up to Congress," Harrah said.
    
U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, whose 6th District covers most St. Johns and Flagler counties and much of Volusia County, declined repeated requests for comment regarding the plan or its funding.
    
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson expressed support for the project.
    
"Our beaches help drive the area's and our state's tourism-driven economy," Nelson said. "It makes sense to find ways to preserve and protect them."
    
Part-time residents Bob and Karen O'Connell agree.
    
"I don't think it can hurt," Bob O'Connell said.
    
Karen said they bought their house, which is a stone's throw from the proposed project area, about four years ago.
    
"The beach is declining," she said. "Now when it's high tide, you're right at the rocks."
    
Flagler County engineer Faith Alkhatib says design work could begin later this summer if the county and potential partners are able to "front fund" the work.