Parts of Vilano Beach are washed away by waves from the northeast, despite renovation efforts

ST. JOHN COUNTY, FL – The higher than normal tide, along with heavy rains from a passing northeast, worried oceanfront residents about beach erosion, especially in St. Johns County .

As the rising tide recedes, it carries some of the beaches with it – a familiar sight to beach residents in St. Johns County.

This erosion is of particular concern for houses by the sea, as the water slowly eats away even the retaining walls. Whenever a flood occurs, part of the beach disappears.

Over the past decade, the beaches of St. Johns County have been washed away by two hurricanes and several other nor’easters.

Jo Sinclair lives in Vilano Beach and has seen the problem with his own eyes.

“I’ve lived here for 38 years and am in a flooded neighborhood,” she says. “Even watching the beach change. They did this renovation last year and the change is like it hadn’t done anything.

Earlier this summer, the Vilano Beach restoration project was completed, which placed over a million cubic meters of sand along a 2½ mile stretch.

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“The project is doing a lot of good things for us for the community. It protects the beach, it protects the roads, the evacuation routes. It is also a major economic engine of tourism. Also protects property, ”Emergency Management Director Joseph Giammanco said at the time.

The project dug sand into the cove near the old cross in St. Augustine. The Army Corps of Engineers project – approved by the county in April 2019 – was designed to provide sand for the next 50 years to the tune of $ 144 million.

But there is a caveat for these projects. Earlier this year, a coastal engineering expert warned that over decades, renovation projects like these could become more difficult.

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“The problem is that we are running out of sand. There isn’t an endless amount of sand off the coast, so we have to think beyond the sand and see what we can do to make our coast resilient, ”said Dr Don Resio, Professor Emeritus of engineering at UNF.

Other similar projects are underway right now, but storms like the one that hit the region on Friday and Saturday are only accelerating the emergency.

In January, Congress gave the Army Corps of Engineers a half-million dollar green light to study beach erosion in St. Johns County, in what is called a “management study.” risks “. It will take three years and cost up to $ 3 million.

Homeowners in the area like Sinclair said the investment was worth it.

“Nature tells us that we have to change the way we do things,” she said, “and she’s going to claim her right. It’s just like that.

For the Sunshine State, maintaining the coastline is essential, as approximately 70% of the state’s population live within 10 minutes of the shore.

Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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