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Residents take beach restoration into own hands

Ponte Vedra Beach battered from two years of storms

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – After a series of storms swept through the past two years, wreaking havoc along the Northeast Florida’s coast, people who live along Ponte Vedra Beach said it's now time to replace the sand that was blown away by those storms.

The Weather Authority spoke with one homeowner who's trying to get her neighbors to buy into the multi-million restoration project in hopes of saving their beach.

Large piles of debris show just how destructive Hurricanes Irma and Matthew were to Ponte Vedra Beach. Neighbors are now saying enough is enough and are taking matters into their own hands.
Laurie Moffett said the nine-mile stretch of waterfront property from the Duval-St. Johns County line to Guana Beach was hit hard by beach erosion. 

"We're trying to restore our beach,” Moffett said. “It's in very bad condition. It's not the beautiful beach it used to be."

Photos taken days before Hurricane Matthew show how hard the beach was hit. A year later, the beach still needs attention. 

"We've probably lost about five to six feet out of the beach floor, so the tides are hitting farther and farther west, eroding our beach."

So now, Moffett and her neighbors are leading the effort to save their beach.

Over the next two months, they plan to bring in a civil engineer to survey the damage. After that, they’ll divide the cost of restoration between the neighbors who are participating in the project. The hope is that they’ll have new sand in place before the next hurricane season arrives.

"My hope and passion for our beach are that we recreate the beautiful beach that we all love and enjoy,” Moffett said. “Everybody comes to this beach. Everybody loves this beach. It's one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida and that's what we want to have again for us all."

Hundreds of neighbors have expressed interest in the project, but, at this point, organizers don't know exactly how much it will cost to repair the beach.

Moffett said area homeowners who are interested in joining in on the project should fill out a survey online at SavePonteVedraBeach.com.