Renourishment project to begin for Jacksonville beaches, dunes

100% of beach portion federally funded due to hurricanes

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A renourishment project to strengthen Jacksonville's beaches and dunes is slated to begin next week.

The Duval County Shore Protection Project includes Jacksonville, Neptune and Atlantic beaches, as well as Hanna Park. All were affected by hurricanes Matthew and Irma.

Offering a reminder that the beaches were man-made, Dr. Kevin Bodge, a coastal engineering consultant for the city of Jacksonville, said these projects are necessary.

"Long-term residents here will remember there was no beach along here. We had a seawall and rocks, and that was about it," Bodge said. "The incredible beach there now is the result of multiple renourishment [projects] that began in the late 1970s."

The Army Corps of Engineers says the piping and other supplies will be brought in mid- to late September. Sand placement will begin mid-October, and the project will take two to three months, depending on the weather.

There will be beach closures during the project but it will only be from 500 to 1,000 feet at a time. A timeline will soon be released so beachgoers can better plan their trip.

Armen Lulic frequents the beach and agreed the project is necessary.

"Whatever there is to make the beach better and to keep it clean -- we need to do that because that's the main attraction here in Jacksonville," Lulic said.

Because the project comes after two natural disasters, the beach portion will be funded entirely by the federal government. The city will pay for the dune renourishment -- the majority of which should be refunded by FEMA.

Every five to seven years, the Jacksonville beaches undergo a renourishment project. The forthcoming project is an exception due to the natural disasters. According to the Army Corps of Engineers:

  • Matthew hit, and the city did a renourishment of the beaches and dunes.
  • Irma came through and did additional damage, but more to the beach than the dunes since they were renourished after Matthew.
  • The forthcoming project is recovering and renourishing critically damaged beaches from Irma.
  • Piping that will be used is currently in Houston and will be sailed here.
  • A contractor must provide a progress map and show entire length of shoreline.
  • The last time the beaches were renourished without being a natural disaster was 2011.
  • 2023 is when it will be done next, unless another hurricane strikes.
  • That project will be 79.1 percent federally funded and 29.9 percent non-federal.

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