The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has signed an agreement with St. Johns County, Florida, granting the county up to 1.1 million cubic yards of sand from federal waters for shoreline restoration along 5 miles of South Ponte Vedra Beach.
The project will alleviate sand loss caused by erosion due to Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, two powerful storms that struck the area in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Damage from Hurricane Matthew reached approximately $10 billion across the United States, while damage from Irma approached approximately $50 billion.
In addition, the project will fortify the beach and dunes against future storms, the impacts of climate change, restore environmental habitats (e.g., for shorebirds and nesting sea turtles), and increase and maintain recreational opportunities in St. Johns County.
The sand comes from an area in federal waters about 8 miles offshore and 6 miles north of St. Augustine Inlet.
“BOEM stands ready to assist coastal communities whose beaches are battered by severe storms,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “Restored shorelines can act as a line of defense against future storms and sea level rise, as well as contribute to local economies.”
BOEM has the authority to convey Outer Continental Shelf sand resources for shoreline resiliency and beach or wetland restoration projects undertaken by federal, state, or local governments.