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Two more beach replenishment projects to start late next year


Critically eroding segments of barrier island shoreline, a victim of hurricanes Matthew and Irma, will be replenished with hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand starting late next year, county officials said.

Indian River County plans to start two multimillion-dollar beach renourishment projects in November 2020. The projects will place 400,000 cubic yards of sand along a 6.6-mile stretch of shoreline between the north island community of Seaview and Turtle Trail beach park near the Carlton condominium, an area the county calls Sector 3.

It will put an additional 250,000 yards of sand on south beach in what is called Sector 7, the area which stretches for 2.2 miles from Seagrove to the Moorings.

“Hurricanes Matthew and Irma have impacted both of those areas, so we’re moving forward with the permitting and design,” County Administrator Jason Brown said.

The two sectors have lost roughly one foot of shoreline a year since Hurricane Matthew brushed the Treasure Coast in 2016.

Both projects are expected to wrap up in April 2021 but completion could be delayed to November 2021 if work isn’t complete by the time sea turtle nesting season begins. The nesting season runs from May 1 to Oct. 31.

The combined price tag for the projects is $19.5 million. The county received $1.2 million in grant money from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and expects $9.7 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, county officials said.

“It will be necessary for the county to make up the difference in funding between the project cost and any grant or reimbursement funding,” Kendra Cope, the county’s coastal resources coordinator, told Vero Beach 32963. “The county will continue to monitor all grant opportunities available and request funding from state and federal sources as available.”

The county sets aside 1.5 cents out of the 4-cent tourist tax it collects for beach restoration, which is the primary funding source for renourishment projects. The jurisdiction also uses a portion of the 1-cent sales tax for projects as needed, officials said.

Sector 3 and Sector 7 were last replenished in 2010 and 2007, respectively. Hurricanes Matthew and Irma accelerated the need for a fresh infusion of sand, county officials said.

The County Commission at its Aug. 13 meeting hired Coastal Tech, a local engineering firm, to perform the engineering work for Sector 7 at a cost of $256,435. The commission also approved a $258,489 contract with Texas-based Aptim Environmental & Infrastructure Inc. to perform the engineering work for Sector 3. The county expects to select a contractor in late September 2020 to perform the work.

It is still undetermined where the sand used to replenish the beaches will come from, county officials said. There will be some access restrictions in the immediate vicinity of the beach during the renourishment projects and the public will be notified ahead of time, officials added.

The 2020-2021 rebuilds will follow a 155,000 cubic yard project slated to begin in November to repair the beach from Tracking Station Park to Castaway Cove.