St. Johns County Shoreline Study up for Comment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, invites the public to review and comment on the St. Johns County, Fla., Coastal Storm Risk Management Project draft feasibility study and environmental assessment.

The study team, consisting of federal, state and local agency officials, assessed the feasibility of providing federal coastal storm risk management measures to portions of St. Johns County’s shoreline.

Specific problems in the study area include storm damage due to erosion, inundation, and waves threatening infrastructure, natural habitat and recreational opportunities.

The St. Johns County shoreline is approximately 42 miles long. The Corps examined opportunities to reduce the risk of coastal damages and improve conditions on roughly 9.8 miles of beach. The study area consisted of 3.8 miles in the South Ponte Vedra area, 3.7 miles in Vilano Beach and 2.3 in Summer Haven.

Other areas of the county’s shoreline were found to not have excessive erosion such that infrastructure was threatened.

Alternatives considered in the study included no action, non-structural measures (flood proofing, relocation, land acquisition, etc.), shore protection with hard structures (seawalls, revetments, groins, etc.), shore protection with soft structures (beach nourishment, geotubes, etc.), combinations, and others.

The tentatively selected plan (TSP) includes beach and dune nourishment within the Vilano Beach reach and a small portion of the South Ponte Vedra Beach reach. During the study process, the team screened out the Summer Haven area because St. Johns County is already conducting managed retreat; and, most of the South Ponte Vedra area due to its lack of public parking and access, which is a requirement for a federal beach project.

The TSP design consists of a 60-foot seaward berm extension and maintenance of the existing dune along 2.6 miles, approximately from the southern end of the Serenata Beach Club to San Pelayo Court.  The Corps anticipates an initial construction, and then four periodic nourishment events at about 12-year intervals. Initial construction would use about 1.3 million cubic yards of material and the periodic nourishments would use roughly 866,000 cubic yards each.

The open comment period starts Thursday, February 18, and ends April 4, 2016.

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