Jacksonville, FL - Duval County’s beaches are fully re-nourished, according to city leaders.
The more-than $15 million project began in late 2018, involving moving 850,000 cubic yards of sand on to roughly eight miles of shore. The re-nourishment involved Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and the southern portion of Hanna Park, which were all affected by Hurricanes Irma and Matthew.
“We’ve had some storms, obviously, in the past couple of years that have had an impact on us, and this is a great protective layer for us to make sure that we stay safe and keep the water from encroaching in to the streets,” says Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham.
While the re-nourishment was fully funded through the US Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Jacksonville committed an additional $1.7 million to address the dunes as well, including repairing existing ones and building new ones. The dunes provide a buffer to mitigate the impact of a storm along structures on the coast.
Duval was re-nourished in 2016-2017, as part of a standard five-to-six year cycle. This additional re-nourishment was authorized because of Hurricane Irma. Since the re-nourishment was directly tied to the storm, the USACE says it received full federal backing, instead of seeing cost shared with the City and State as well.
“Nobody wanted to see us have to re-nourish again, just after we finished it the last time, but the partnership worked really well,” says Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser.
Through that partnership, the city leaders say there is a benefit well beyond the coast as well.
“This is not only important to the beach folks, this is important to the County as a whole, because this is the best asset they have, we have,” says Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Gulliford.
The USACE says this has an economic benefit, can improve quality of life, and restores habitats for shorebird and marine turtle nesting.
“This is us caring for our water and our beaches and making sure that we address and take care of the environment,” says Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
Latham says improvements along the coast aren’t stopping, now that re-nourishment is done. He says the engineering and design of the second half of the Jacksonville Beach Pier is almost done and construction is expected to start on that in April. The Pier was destroyed in Hurricane Matthew, and only the first half has been re-built and re-opened so far. WOKV has confirmed the new construction portion of the Pier will be eight feet higher than the existing portion, with an ADA compliant slope between the sections.