​Ponte Vedra residents combat erosion as hurricane season ends

Coastal engineers estimate beach restoration may not be completed until 2020


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The 2017 Hurricane Season is one that won't soon be forgotten especially for people who live in hard-hit Ponte Vedra Beach. Months after the winds, tides and rain subsided, people in the are now combating the crisis of coastal erosion. 

September 10, 2017: One year after Hurricane Matthew scraped the Florida Atlantic Coast another monster storm set its sights on the already battered shoreline.

"Loud winds [pushed] against the house, the house was shaking," said Laurie Moffett​, a Ponte Vedra Beach resident.

Moffett recalls the howling winds that kept her family awake that Sunday night.

"Parts of people's houses, cement blocks were filling this beach here and we just watched it all go by. And then the tide just kept hitting further and farther west eating into the dunes," said Moffett.

Clean-up began immediately across St. Johns County. Moffett and many of her neighbors soon learned combating coastal erosion wouldn't come cheaply or easily.

"We all have insurance for our houses, right?" said Moffett, "but, that's for your house not your land as tides rise."

After Irma Moffett and several neighbors formed a group called Save Ponte Vedra Beach in hopes of restoring their coastline by adding a lot of sand.

According to Moffett, well nourished beaches perform much better in hurricanes than natural beaches, so she and her neighbors  are trying to convince people who live and work on Ponte Vedra Beach to take part in the restoration plan. 

Coastal engineers estimate that it could take up to two years for the beach restoration project to begin. The costs of the restoration project won't be known until late winter. So far, about 93 percent of the residents surveyed support a renourishment plan.