SoWal beach nourishment phase 2 update
The TDC continues to make progress for beach restoration for the 30A Corridor. As previously reported, the sand source investigation has been completed. There are two locations off the South Walton coast, which have sand that is similar in size, color and composition to the native sand. The sand color is a close match at 7.2 on the color scale (8.1 is the native sand ranking.)
Step two is to obtain permits. After receiving the first “Request for Additional Information (RAI)” by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the TDC submitted a reply at the end of October. The FDEP reviewed the information and sent Walton County a second RAI in early December. The TDC and consultants are preparing a response to the second RAI that they plan to submit in February. Additionally, the FDEP sent Walton County a grant agreement to cost share on the design and permitting of the project that will be executed at the Jan. 8 County Commission Meeting.
To date, no additional information is available regarding the Supreme Court Hearing or its impact on the permitting process.
The timeline for the permitting process is dependent on three important factors:
1. Permitting - The review by three federal agencies, and two state agencies can take as quickly as 10-12 months or can take up to several years. For example, it took two years to receive all permitting for the western Walton County project. Delays included administrative hearings and lawsuits filed by affected owners. All technical information for the Phase 2 Beach Restoration for the 30A corridor was collected and analyzed during the past three years; the most time consuming portion of the data collection and analysis was finding offshore sand resources to place onto the beach. The technical information and sand source findings served as the design basis for the permit application that was submitted for review in July 2007. Permit review is ongoing; however, the permit file has not yet been deemed complete and ready for final review by the FDEP as we have received two Requests for Additional Information (RAI). We anticipate additional RAI’s over the next few months as we move through the permitting process.
2.Funding – The project is estimated to cost between $40-60 million. All funding sources for the project have not been identified at this time. In addition to bed tax revenues dedicated to beach restoration, the TDC continues to pursue state and federal grants for the project and will research all funding opportunities that are available. With state grant funding and limited TDC bed tax dollars available, the remaining balance for the project, approximately $30-50 million, will need to be raised. TDC bed taxes for beach nourishment are already pledged to secure a $10 million loan for the Western Walton County beach restoration project.
3. Litigation – A lawsuit began in 2005 during the Western Walton County beach restoration project by a group of homeowners who are questioning ownership rights. On April 19, the Florida State Supreme Court held a hearing to decide the case. The outcome of this lawsuit will directly impact the future of this project. A ruling in favor of the owners group may lead to a lengthy delay or halt the project all together. No decision has been made to date. The TDC continues to move through the process as effectively and efficiently as possible with an ideal start date in late 2008. This optimistic start date is contingent on achieving all three factors positively and expeditiously.
01-30-2008, 01:04 PM #2
- Join Date
- May 2007
- The Westernish end.
Re: SoWal beach nourishment phase 2 update
I meant to take pictures yesterday, but was busy, of the work going on off of Beachfront Trail. Anybody have any info on this one?
Beach Restoration Initiatives along the 30A Corridor
Updated March 3, 2009
The TDC continues permitting for a beach restoration project for the 30A Corridor. We are happy to report that a major milestone has been reached regarding permitting; however, the downturn in the economy is likely to delay the construction of the project.
As previously reported, the sand source investigation has been completed. There are two locations off the South Walton coast, which have sand that is similar in size and composition to the native sand. The sand color is slightly darker at 7/2 on the color scale (8/1 is the native sand ranking). Greg Stone, LSU professor and consulting geologist, has stated that the sand will bleach to the same color of the natural beach over time.
Step two is to obtain permits, and this is where a milestone has been reached. In February 2009, we received the Notice of Completeness for the 30A Corridor permit from Florid Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). This is a crucial milestone in the permitting process as it means that FDEP is on the clock to review the permit in depth and analyze what impacts the project may have. As part of their analysis, it is likely that we will be asked to meet with them to determine what changes should be made to the project in order for it to be permitted by FDEP. After we hear any concerns they have, we will work to address those concerns to avoid and minimize impacts. We anticipate that these meetings will occur this spring.
Additionally in February, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners passed the Wildlife Lighting Ordinance. This ordinance should help our state and federal permitting efforts. A copy of the ordinance has been requested and will be sent to all of the permitting agencies for inclusion as part of our permitting package.
In February, we also made progress regarding the federal permit that is needed to construct the beach restoration project. We received a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Panama City Field Office stating that the review of our permit was complete and they have drafted their permit conditions. These permit conditions were expected and did not include any surprises. As expected, they are ready to issue the federal permit, but are delaying the issuance until the state completes it’s review of the project.
In September, the County’s FY 2009 funding request was submitted to FDEP. The request is for additions to two existing grants that the TDC currently oversees for the monitoring of the Western Walton County Beach Restoration Project, and the construction phase of the Phase II 30A Corridor Beach Restoration Project. To date, we have been notified that we will likely only receive funding for the monitoring of the Western Walton County Beach Restoration Project, and not funding for the Phase II 30A Corridor Beach Restoration Project this fiscal year.
As mentioned in prior updates, Senators Martinez and Nelson requested $565,000 in federal funding to be included in the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Water Appropriations bill for the ongoing funding of the Walton County Federal Shore Protection Project. In February, the Omnibus bill was passed and we have received our seventh consecutive successful appropriations request. A number of people are to be thanked for this success including Representatives Boyd and Miller, Senators Martinez and Nelson, and Marlowe & Company, our federal lobbyists.
We continue to coordinate with the Mobile District on the study report. Staff and consultants have participated in meetings with the Mobile District regarding the Independent Technical Review being conducted by the Wilmington District. This review is the first step in securing authorization for the project. The current goal is to request that the Walton County Shore Protection Project be included in the 2009 Water Resources Development Act, if that bill moves through Congress. If there is not a 2009 WRDA, the project will be included in the 2010 WRDA.
Walton County, through their consultants, has submitted the FY 2010 federal funding request to Representatives Boyd and Miller and Senators Nelson and Martinez in late February. This request included funding for the completion of the feasibility study and design and engineering of the Walton County Shore Protection Project.
The timeline for the permitting process is dependent on three important factors:
1. Permitting - The review by three federal agencies, and two state agencies can take up to several years. For example, it took two years to receive all permitting for the western Walton County project. Delays included administrative hearings and lawsuits filed by affected owners.
All technical information for the Phase 2 Beach Restoration for the 30A corridor was collected and analyzed from 2004-2007; the most time consuming portion of the data collection and analysis was finding offshore sand resources to place onto the beach. The technical information and sand source findings served as the design basis for the permit application that was submitted for review in July 2007. Technical permit review should begin in earnest now that the RAI process is coming to a close; however, numerous issues will still be negotiated with the permitting agencies.
2. Funding –The project is estimated to cost between $40-60 million. All funding sources for the project have not been identified at this time. In addition to bed tax revenues dedicated to beach restoration, the TDC continues to pursue state and federal grants for the project and will research all funding opportunities that are available. Unfortunately, the amount of state grant funding that has been historically available continues to be reduced as the state faces tough economic times. Therefore, it is highly likely that there will not be any state grant funds available in 2009-10.
With little to no state funding and limited TDC bed tax dollars available, the remaining balance for the project, approximately $30-50 million, will need to be raised. TDC bed taxes for beach nourishment are already pledged to secure a $10 million loan for the Western Walton County beach restoration project. Fortunately, Walton County has been pursuing federal funding since 2002 and that process continues to move forward. The federal process is longer than the state funding process but if the project is authorized by the federal government, they will be a partner for 50 years. Pursuing this funding stream remains a high priority for Walton County.
3. Litigation –Although the State Supreme Court ruling has been made in favor of the FDEP and Walton County, there will still be opportunity for administrative challenges and lawsuits as the project moves forward. To date, there is no outstanding litigation affecting the project; however, the plaintiffs requested a rehearing by the State Supreme Court that was denied in December 2008 and we are waiting to see if there are any other avenues of litigation that will be pursued.
The TDC continues to move through the process as effectively and efficiently as possible with a likely start date in late 2009 or 2010. This start date is contingent on achieving all three factors positively and expeditiously.
More information will be provided as it becomes available on
Walton County received news in March that appropriations from the Omnibus 2009 Bill, in the amount of $565,000, were awarded to the county for its beach nourishment project.
However, those funds are earmarked for the U. S Army Corps of Engineers, according to Sonny Mares, director of the Walton County Tourist Development Council.
For the past seven years the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has been responsible for conducting the feasibility study funded by Congress of the "critically" eroded beaches in South Walton.
"Completion of the study is necessary for a permit to be issued," said Mares.
Even with a permit in place funding may not be available for several years, according to Mares.
The total cost for the study, which began in 2004, stands at $1.9 million from federal funding and matching funds from Walton County and the state for a total of $3.9 million.
In 2007 a bond (loan) in the amount of $10 million was issued for the nourishment project of seven miles of beaches in western Walton County. It is to be repaid in equal installments over 10 years, based on future revenue from bed taxes.
"Because of that, if we had a permit today, we would not be able to pledge any room tax revenues," said Mares. "We have to find other funding sources to continue with beach re-nourishment."
Mares estimates the total cost of the project, which will include 20 miles of beach in South Walton, will run between $40 million and $60 million.
Walton County has 26 miles of beach and the proposed project would bring sand to the toe of existing dunes to provide additional protection from storm surge and natural erosion.
Beaches from Dune Allen Beach to Inlet Beach on County Road 30A, with the exception of state park beaches and the seven miles already completed in western Walton County, are slated for the nourishment project.
The downturn in the economy has had a major impact on funding. According to Mares, all shore protection funding has been halted at the federal level.
Mares spent two days in Washington, D. C., last week talking with congressional committees to find avenues for future funding and keeping the nourishment regarded as a federal project.
Mares said no explanation was given for freezes in funding for the Shore Protection Act.
At the state and county levels the slow down in real estate plays a critical role in the amount of money committed from doc stamps, taxes collected by the state on every sale of real estate for beach protection. Mares said he isn't sure how much the state will be able to commit to future funding.
"The reason we're working so hard in deeming this a federal project is the federal government will fund 50 percent of the cost and partner with us on the project for 50 years, taking much of the burden off the county," he said.
With everything yet to be determined, both with the feasibility study and finding money, nourishment of the beaches in South Walton may not begin until 2012, or after, according to Mares.
04-06-2009, 07:08 AM #5
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
- Native of Tampa now in Boston 'burbs. Left my heart in SoWal
Why does the beach need re-nourishing at this moment? I think the beaches are looking pretty nice. How much hurricane protection does restoration actually provide? Would much of the sand not be washed away in the event of a major hurricane?
I realize this type of venture requires years of advance planning but I can imagine it is hard to convince the feds right now to fund the restoration of beaches that look pretty good.
The real estate slowdown may reduce money from doc stamps, etc but doesn't it also help reduce beach erosion? If the parks are the only spots that don't need restoration, then isn't the slowdown in construction a good thing in the long run?Proud to practice indoctrination
at least when it comes to the GATOR NATION
The Defuniak Herald » EMPTY BEDS EQUALS LESS REVENUE
By LEAH STRATMANN
Brad Pickel was in attendance to report that the $30 million dollars the state usually derives from documentary (doc) stamps did not materialize last year because of the housing market slump. Previously funds from doc stamps have been allocated to Walton County as part of the state’s matching funds for beach nourishment project. “State agencies are starting to prioritize projects differently. Federal participation has become very important.
The state is using that as major criteria for receiving matching state dollars. Without a federal tie-in the possibility of getting state funds is low,” Pickel reported.
Pickel also introduced Howard Marlowe and Josh Gaboton, government affairs consultants hired by the TDC at $58,500 per year to lobby Congress on behalf of the beaches in south Walton, a function the firm has been serving for the last seven years. The overall nourishment plan has been in progress since the TDC first instituted an additional one-cent tax specifically for nourishment in 2002.
“Every year this project has gotten funded to the tune of $2 million over that time. The federal process is long and difficult because the feds require that a national interest be proved before providing funds. For us it is not only important to get the money, but it is important to find out what is being done with the money,” Marlowe said.
Gaboton said, “I have worked on beach projects for nine years on Capitol Hill. When you have a staff person who is willing to spend time with you, you are in pretty good shape. On the funding level, we will probably get a better idea in June of where we stand. It is a good project that is being recognized,” he said.
Marlowe said, “Our job is to keep them on schedule. We needed to get a congressional authorization to start the study. When the study is completed then you can get the money to get the sand on the beach. A Water Resource Development Act is what is needed and they have one of these every couple of years. We have let Congress know there are people from everywhere who come here. Thus helping our beaches helps their constituents as well.”
The lobbying firm collected ZIP codes of all visitors to the area so they could target the elected leaders from those areas on behalf of the beaches in Walton County.
To finish nourishment along critically eroded beaches, at least $40 million is needed. Pickel estimates as much as 65 percent could come from federal and state funds. The extra penny dedicated to beach nourishment is currently being used to pay off the work done in the western part of the county. It was noted that recent stimulus money went to shovel ready projects.
Board member Don McQuade asked, “What is the likelihood we will get the money?”
“Congress likes to continue to fund things they have already funded, so the likelihood is good since they have put $2 million in it already and it has bipartisan support from many members of Congress,” Marlowe said.
The many public beach accesses in the county also help when it comes to federal funding. “You are not going to put federal dollars in places where people can’t get access. It is important. From the federal point of view, you will get more money if there is public access.” Marlowe emphasized.
Council chairman Maurice Gilbert noted the development of accesses also helps to fill the beds on the north sides of the streets near the beach.
Last edited by SoWalSally; 05-23-2009 at 06:41 AM.
05-23-2009, 07:42 AM #7
there are many sides to this issue. i am in "gasp" western bay county, and we had the renourishment done 7-10(?) years ago, and it has been a blessing to our beach. the end result will be very different than what you currently are used to but it keeps the beach from eroding, or big waves from hitting the bottom of the last / only dune.
the change in front of our area moved the water's edge from the foot of the stairs at the bottom of the dune to almost 75 yards away. it was far enough that some folks complained about how far they now had to walk to get to the water!!!
the sand was graded into three distinct level "tiers" that provided protection from the storm's waves. waves might go above the first tier and wash up to the second, but it would be a really big storm that would bring the water over the third tier. if this had not been completeted prior to the big storms in the mid 90's, there would have been much more damage from them, and the big storms 4-5 years ago. the last ones took much of the tiering away, but in the time it's been in place, a secondary dune has grown in front of the dune at the bottom of the stairs that was being struck any time the ocean churned up, even from waves smaller than they are this weekend.
the sand initially is not the pretty white that we are so accustomed too, but it bleaches out after three or four years. it was shockingly funny that people were even considering having white sand trucked in. it's friggin sand, and mother nature will do with it as she wishes. the nourishment sand will bleach, it just takes time. but in our gimme it now world, some folks can't stand for things to not be exactly the way they want them.
an area that i see frequently that would see a tremendous improvement to the beach would be Rosemary. There's really just a thin strip of beach right there. Not much room for all the people, and the rental chairs take up all the room. renourishment would greatly widen this, and, due to the amount of sand pumped onto the beach, i'd bet 8-10 stairs would be buried, and the climb off the beach that much easier! there was a seawall next to our beach that was above-my-head-high prior to the renourishment. afterward, the top of the wall was at my ankle. that's how much sand is moved, it's pretty incredible.
i'm sure someone has a better environmental reason, but the sand bars are pretty featureless mostly, so pumping them beachward to ward off storms should outweigh the disturbance of habitat. fish and sealife are pretty adaptive to their surroundings, and they just move further out, right?
hope all is well in your world this memorial day w/e. sorry for the ramble, but i'm up early with my 3yo daughter, and was cruising this great site while watching it rain in west PCB. see y'all on the beach in between the downpours!!!!!!
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05-23-2009, 08:41 AM #8
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
- Native of Tampa now in Boston 'burbs. Left my heart in SoWal
Interesting and thoughtful post, thank you.Proud to practice indoctrination
at least when it comes to the GATOR NATION
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