BOEM partners with St. Johns County to restore and protect coastal area

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and St. Johns County, Florida, have signed another agreement under which the county will use up to 2.2 million cubic yards of sand from federal waters for beach and dune restoration along almost 9 miles of Ponte Vedra Beach.

This is the second agreement BOEM has signed with St. Johns County this year. BOEM granted access to 1.1 million cubic yards of sand for work on South Ponte Vedra Beach in April 2021. Both sand projects address damage that occurred in 2016 and 2017 from Hurricanes Matthew and Irma and other erosion.

By restoring and protecting its beaches, St. Johns County is addressing threats from storms and erosion to infrastructure such as roads (i.e., Ponte Vedra Boulevard and Florida Highway A1A), homes, and businesses.

The latest project will improve resiliency of the beach and dunes against future storms, bolster environmental habitats, and maintain recreational opportunities in St. Johns County, whose beaches serve more than 100,000 area residents plus regional, national, and international visitors.

“Erosion along U.S. coastal beaches presents a serious problem affecting our nation’s natural resources, energy supply, defense, tourism industry, and public infrastructure,” said BOEM director Amanda Lefton. “With climate change leading to rising sea levels and stronger storms, we need to act quickly to make our coasts more resilient to these impacts.”

A construction date has yet to be identified. However, the agreement gives St. Johns County up to 3 years to access the specified sand resources, which will come from federal waters about 4 miles offshore Ponte Vedra Beach.

Photo: USACE