10-17-2005, 07:08 PM #1
I was on the water yesterday viewing the Gulf front properties along 30-A. It is interesting to see different types of seawalls people are installing in an effort to protect their property. It will be very interesting what stands up to the storms and what doesn't. I hope we never find out. I have attached some photos --Blake
An effective seawall should dissipate the energy from the wave action. Sand dunes work best because they absorb a lot of the energy before the wave heads back out to sea. Every man-made barrier I have seen creates an energy backwash. The result being sand washed away from the beach. If the barrier is big/tall enough, the property is "saved" at the expense of the beach. What you have left is usually hard packed sand and no beach to speak of at high tide.
10-17-2005, 08:49 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- Near the ATL and in SoWal as often as possible
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by DolphinDude
10-18-2005, 06:23 AM #4
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by Beach Runner
10-18-2005, 08:19 AM #6
and to think, they could have all had a nice jetty rock covered broken dune face across the whole county
the proof, and why not to use seawalls:
btw, turtles nest in sand on top of rock and even small pockets of sand within solid rock all the time
it should be fun watching and betting on which wall 'breaches' first!
carribean island related, but useful:
Last edited by aquaticbiology; 10-18-2005 at 08:30 AM.
10-18-2005, 08:46 AM #7
wow, this island thingy from UNESCO (is that the UN?) is the most valuable resource I've ever seen for beach erosion (and other things):
start page: http://www.unesco.org/csi/pub/source/ero6.htm
too bad no one's ever read it at the courthouse
if you go through the cases at the bottom of the page and you'll have a full education on beach erosion and the fixes of it
wow - there it is (in Case #2)!
"Maintain a wide and stable beach.
A wide beach is the best protection against the high waves and storm surge generated by a hurricane. A beach is a flexible barrier which will be eroded during the storm but rebuilt quickly afterwards. Any measures which help to protect a beach or dune area, such as setting new buildings well back from the active wave impact zone, conserving natural beach and dune vegetation, dune stabilization practices and preventing beach sand mining, will help to conserve the beach as a natural storm barrier."
WOW! (still in Case #2) "Allow time for the beach to recover naturally. Do not rush out and build walls or other hard structures, since these may actually impede recovery."
get ready for some new gulffront property!
Last edited by aquaticbiology; 10-18-2005 at 08:56 AM.
10-18-2005, 10:49 AM #8
hey, wait a minute - from Kurt's seawall construction photos it would appear that the function of the 'seawall' may be not to protect the dune from further destruction from the sea but to stop the dune slump that would undermine the building further - notice the cable structure designed to hold the wall from bowing out, not stopping the waves from the sea! I wish I had seen that unesco thing before - I never noticed this!
This is a hot-button issue if ever there was one. I understand that homes must be saved, but at what cost?
My question is, why is the county not stepping in and instutiting some kind of guidelines/rules so if there is to be seawall construction, it is consistent from an aesthetic standpoint?
To me, nothing is uglier than four beach homes all in a row with four different kinds of seawalls.
10-18-2005, 11:30 AM #10
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by JB
10-18-2005, 12:01 PM #11
- Join Date
- Jan 2005
- Imperial Missouri
Thanks for the pictures Blake, what a huge change this is for sowal beaches.Give me the splendid silent sun.....Walt Whitman
10-18-2005, 01:19 PM #12
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
- Lacey's Spring, Alabama
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by JB~If Life is a journey....the BEACH should be the destination!~
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by kathydwells
Oh, and Blake,I know I don't get there often enough,
but God knows I surely try
It's a magic kind of medicine,
that no doctor could prescribe.
10-18-2005, 02:06 PM #14
We came across some pictures from about 1996 when our kids were pretty young on the beach and it was shocking to see where the beach was and where it is today.
The dunes were huge and very deep, and the beach was at least 2x the depth it is today. I know this is not news to most long timers, but it was a surprise to stumble onto those pictures and see the reality of it.
Now, all that being said, I still think the beaches are beautiful and feel very lucky to get to enjoy them whenever I can. Sometimes I just need to remind myself to not say, 'if only' and be accepting of what God and life have to offer.If you are lucky enough to be at the beach......
........you are lucky enough.
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by Landlocked
Actually, anyone who saw the the South Walton beaches prior to 1970 got a pretty good idea of what the Spaniards saw in the 17th century. It really hasn't been that long ago that you could walk from Destin to Grayton and see nothing but dunes.
10-18-2005, 03:38 PM #16
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- Near the ATL and in SoWal as often as possible
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by kathydwells
10-18-2005, 04:52 PM #17
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
- Arlington, TX & Dune Allen Beach
Blake and thanks for the pics.
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by Beach Runner
10-18-2005, 05:28 PM #19
I don't frequent this forum very often, so excuse me if this has been addressed already. But its time to stop complaining, mount the cavalry and put a stop to seawalls, like we did to high rises back when. I hear lots of noise but see no action being taken. Granted, people who build seawalls are acting on fear, but it borders on shameful. (If anyone is building a wall and would like to rebut me, please do.) There are better ways to protect properties-- that won't eliminate the beach.
Beachfront owners, Tear Down Your Walls.
10-19-2005, 07:30 AM #20
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by thumper
a) I don't think they *are* seawalls - they seem to be more like retaining walls made specifically to keep the dune sand the buildings are built on from sliding out from under the buildings - they don't meet the Florida DEP specs for a 'seawall' anyway, either buried or non-buried
b) they may end up functioning as seawalls when Wilma or the next one comes ashore somewhere closer than south florida, then they will collapse as they don't have any scour protection to keep the wet sand from slipping out from around or under them
oh well, what do I know, anyway
10-19-2005, 07:48 AM #21
It's the same thing though. sorry to harp on this again, but dune slump (sand sliding down from the vertical to assume a more rounded shape, and thus the house built on top of the dune collapses) occurs regardless of hurricanes and really dosen't require the sea to even be present. I can now see where the homeowners would have no choice but to put up individual retaining walls per unit, as each unit's exposure is different and the distance from the structure would vary. The county would have no real way, or desire, to link each of the individual retaining walls together into a chain that might all give way at the weakest link. A seawall would be the county's responsibility, but individual retaining walls would be the homeowner's. The sea being present adds a dynamic aspect to the scenario that could eventually make the beachfront a constant war of gravity and slumping sands vs the retaining walls. In trying to hold sand in a vertical cliff-like orientation forever, the sand and gravity will eventually win, and the beach will eventually be littered with collapsed retaining walls and houses.
Last edited by kurt; 02-03-2006 at 01:39 PM.
I witnessed seawall construction at Four Mile Villiage last week. My balcony at the Hilton faced that way, so I got a pretty good lesson on what they were doing.
First, I noticed a line of pilings had been driven into the sand. The next day, a backhoe was pulling the pilings out and replacing them with the corregated metal sheeting that is shown in the photos above.
My question is why? Why were the pilings removed? Did they violate some kind of code?
Regardless, everyone above is correct. During the next significant storm surge, the seawalls that survive will have no sand in front of them. The ones that fail will litter the beach, making for a very expensive cleanup.
The fact the county is allowing these homeowners to "do their own thing" is a big mistake.
10-19-2005, 09:32 AM #23
Re: SeawallsThe fact the county is allowing these homeowners to "do their own thing" is a big mistake.
Is there a lawyer on this forum?
10-20-2005, 01:42 PM #24
I hope we never have another hurricane but if we do, I hope the seawalls are the first things to go. I don't want to see the "protected" houses exposed but do want to see this whole "seawall theory" exposed. If this upsets anyone on here that is a gulf front homeowner then we are even because you have already upset me, so STFU!
Boating through Eastern Lake past 407 Lakewood Drive, residents may be surprised to see a metal seawall along the lake’s bank.
In the wake of Hurricane Dennis, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection allowed Walton County to issue 60-day temporary seawall permits, allowing homeowners to protect properties in imminent danger of destruction.
On Aug. 24, contractor Branch McClendon applied for a temporary seawall permit for 407 Lakewood Drive for property owner Lee DeBeauchamp. More than 150 temporary permits were processed at the time the application was approved.
“It was issued in error. It was not made clear to staff that is was actually on one of the dune lakes. They implied it was erosion,” said Planning and Development Director Pat Blackshear.
The FDEP has the authority to approve any long-term seawalls, but the county has to write a letter recommending the wall be approved. Under DEP regulations, if a long-term permit is not approved, the temporary structures have to be removed.
“We’re not going to issue a letter of recommendation,” Blackshear said concerning the structure.
“We do review them on a case by case basis and some of them might be able to stay up,” DEP spokesperson Sarah Williams said about permit issuing.
In the event residents don’t comply with seawall regulations, there can be penalties imposed by the county or DEP. Blackshear explained that it is too early to know the outcome of this situation.
“We’re very careful in the permitting process. I don’t know how it slipped by,” Blackshear said.
10-22-2005, 09:44 AM #26
- Join Date
- Mar 2005
- in perpetual motion
Update for Paula:
That fella's new seawall near Camp Creek cottages in Seacrest is already partially down. Maybe not due to wind or water in this case--looks like the sand from the dune settled and pushed the wall down in the middle. Debris is strewn, natch. Only thing those walls are good for:
10-22-2005, 11:49 AM #27
Who is this fellow that put up a seawall ON Eastern Lake? It's the front page story on the Walton Sun today....I haven't read it yet.
Photo taken today at Stallworth Lake.
This is known as a curtain seawall, whereby sections of a composite material are driven into the sand about the same depth as can be seen above the sand. They interlock with each other and are anchored by rods drilled back into the sand underneath the house about 50 feet.
This wall cost around $175,000. Around $125,000 worth of sand will be filled and mounded about 2 feet above the top of the wall and then sloped toward the beach at a 2 to 1 slope. Sea Oats will then be planted on the new sand.
This homeowner had already spent around $100,000 since Hurricane Ivan.
11-19-2005, 07:24 AM #31
another retaining wall - not designed to maintain a defense against the sea encroaching on the land, but to keep the sand pile the building is built onfrom slumping naturally and undermining the building
they should evacuate and just tear it down now and avoid the hassle and expense (yell at me all you want - I would have never built/bought on top of a protective dune system in the first place - and the county planners should be canned for letting them build on a protective dune system)
like being shot in the leg and having the doc just leave the bullet in and encase your whole leg in plaster as if it were broken - the problem is still there and will come back with a vengance in a very short time
just like the three little pigs flashing gang signs at the big bad wolf - it will only make things worse
11-19-2005, 07:33 AM #32
yep - it aint no seawall - it's a retaining wall
this is a seawall:
and even worse:
Last edited by aquaticbiology; 11-19-2005 at 07:36 AM.
From Walton Sun
As many as 158 property owners could be risking prosecution under the federal Endangered Species Act if they complete construction of sea walls permitted by Walton County.
At least 52 who have finished their sea walls, along with the county, are already liable if violations of the federal law occur, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates.
The agency notified Walton County commissioners Monday of the number of times the “taking” of what it believes is endangered species habitat could occur if all 220 permitted property owners complete their sea walls.
A letter signed by Deputy Field Operator Janet Mizzi provided estimates the county had requested, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Lorna Patrick.
Mizzi’s letter repeated a call for county officials to apply for an incidental take permit. Such a permit would prevent federal officials from having to order each property owner to apply individually for take permits, it said.
Walton County Administrator Ronnie Bell said issues raised in the letter will be addressed at the County Commission’s Feb. 14 meeting.
Pat Blackshear, the county’s planning and development director, and other county staffers will research the Fish and Wildlife request and report to the county commission, Bell said.
Blackshear could not be reached for comment Wednesday. County Attorney David Hallman did not return phone calls seeking comment.
“Incidental taking” is the federal government’s term for depriving endangered species of habitat through construction or some other means.
On July 12, 2005, — two days after Hurricane Dennis damaged or destroyed hundreds of Walton County homes and businesses — the County Commission voted to permit emergency armoring of coastal properties.
However, federal officials contend that the county did so without notifying residents of the need to obtain federal take permits, Patrick said.
Now county officials must deal with the sticky issue of helping coastal property owners by obtaining the costly permits - something that might not sit well with inland property owners — or letting the coastal property owners fend for themselves.
“There are pros and cons,” noted Gerry Demers, an engineer with the county’s Planning and Development Department. “But those beaches are probably our greatest asset.”
The Commission could also ignore the federal government’s call for action. But that could prove costly.
Because neither the county nor the affected property owners sought federal permits before supposedly taking endangered species’ habitat, all are liable, said Patrick.
No one is in violation of the Endangered Species Act until an animal of concern is harmed, such as a sea turtle being unable to nest. But at the moment liability exists if habitat was taken during construction.
“We have not covered anyone for incidental taking in Walton County,” Patrick said. “If something happens to the sea turtles in the upcoming nesting season, they’re liable.”
Mizzi’s letter warns county officials that documented harm could lead to criminal prosecution.
“The county and the individual property owners are subject to law enforcement prosecution under the Endangered Species Act if take of a federally protected species is documented from the armoring while not covered under an incidental take permit,” the letter said.
The letter also states, “The Service would not anticipate seeking prosecution provided the county is in the process of applying for a countywide incidental take permit.”
The estimates that the Fish and Wildlife Service provided to the county were based on data from ongoing site inspections by the state Department of Environmental Protection, the letter said.
Data collected so far from 110 sites indicated that endangered species habitat had been taken in 52 of the 79 cases where seawall construction had been completed. That is about 72 percent of projects, Mizzi’s letter said.
“Based on this estimate we would anticipate that 158 of the 220 properties could result in the incidental take of federally protected species,” the letter said.
The county issued only temporary armoring permits good for 60 days. The state must issue another permit if any of the structures are to be permanent. Only one state permit has been issued thus far.
Federal Endangered Species Act take guidelines don’t differentiate between temporary and permanent structures, the Fish and Wildlife letter said.
Sea turtles, which have nested in great numbers on South Walton County shores in recent years, “would be most affected by the temporary armoring,” the letter said. It listed four species - the loggerhead, green, Kemp’s Ridley and leatherback, as possibly impacted by the sea walls.
The letter also said that Choctawhatchee Beach mice and piping plovers could have lost habitat.
Am I reading this article correctly? Is it saying there's a law forbidding the taking of endangered species habitat and that criminal prosecution could be the result? Then saying that if one were to be in the process of getting a permit for the taking, nothing would be done? It sounds like the laws are written to protect, but a permit will allow harming endangered species.
I'm clearly not getting something.
01-29-2006, 08:16 AM #36
I've watched law and order a few times and it sounds right, more than likely as long as you're in processing you can't be touched - out of their jurisdiction - but once the thing comes back that they applied for, it will either be denied or approved, and if its denied, then those who were denied (which there probably won't be any of, since it was natural disaster and not new construction, and the counstruction was approved by the county) can just claim that the county let them down by not telling them about the 'other jurisdictions' permits, leaving lots of lawers getting rich - I mean isn't that the whole idea of the system, for the lawyers to get richer? It all comes down to the houses being built on the dunes in the first place, and that was allowed by the county, and then the construction to save those same houses was also allowed by the county, regardless of federal regulations against either without a permit.
I cleaned it up a bit - congrats to those who saw it before it was edited (the second time).
01-29-2006, 10:18 AM #37
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
and, as we know ignorance is not a defense. these greedy fools who chose to build on a moving medium in the first place, and have now broken the law, should be required to remove the structures that are endangering a federally protected species. the fact that the dune mice have already been affected, fulfills this requirement, No one is in violation of the Endangered Species Act until an animal of concern is harmed, such as a sea turtle being unable to nest.
does it not?
take, take, take...
better drive your hummertahoesuburbanescaladeroverexcursionnavigator avalanchdurangograndcherokeegx470envoydenalimounta ineermarinertrailblazeraviator over to take a look
jrclick >> Filter your water instead of using bottled water << click
01-29-2006, 01:31 PM #38
- Join Date
- Mar 2005
- St. Helena, CA
The seawalls will shore up (pun intended) the houses for the short-term. That is why the County has declared the seawalls temporary, not permanent mitigation for the erosion from the 2005 storms. If we have future hurricanes making landfall nearby, or even large battering waves related to one far away, the beach will erode around the seawall. In some cases, the seawalls themselves will be undermined, because the water action sucks the sand from beneath. What is likely to happen in the interim is civil lawsuits between property owners with seawalls and those without them, the latter being adversely impacted by water and erosion that is the result of the seawall itself. If you are a property owner with seawalls on either side of you, your property is extremely vulnerable.
Once there is a preponderance of civil actions, it is only a short time until the County is enjoined in the litigation because they have not enforced these walls being only a temporary mitigation. Ultimately, the County will have no choice but to enforce the temporary status, the offending homeowners will be paying large abatement fees if they do not remove the seawalls, and the damage to the beaches will be significant while all this whining and litigation goes on ad nauseum.
The key is to make sure the seawall status remains temporary and the County does not change the ordinance so that they can remain in perpetuity. One would think that all this would at the very least cause the County to reconsider their pre-2005 season action that allowed property owners to build closer yet to the water's edge. The County elected officials would be well served by looking at what is done (or not) along the State Park coastal preserves. We are sacrificing the environment to the development lobby. Unfortunately, elected officials do not consider cumulative effect as a general rule, nor do they realize how insidious environmental damage is. Short-term planning is what they do in the morning; long-term planning is what they do in the afternoon. Our district's Cindy Meadows is an exception to this, partially because of her background as a land planner. We need more minds like hers.
01-29-2006, 04:12 PM #39
Our district's Cindy Meadows is an exception to this, partially because of her background as a land planner. We need more minds like hers.
Yes we do. We need to make sure we elect people that will work with her and not more like Ro who will simply vote for anything just to oppose Cindy.
Blue Mountain Beach
A couple more photos - http://www.sowal.com/photos-020306.html
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by Blake
02-03-2006, 03:54 PM #42
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by CastlesOfSand
From Walton Sun
Of 254 temporary armoring permits that have been issued in Walton County, Commissioner Ro Cuchens is listed as the contractor or agent on approximately 65, said Florida Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Sara Williams.
Under a FDEP emergency final order, the Walton County Board of Commissioners approved a motion to temporarily remove restrictions prohibiting citizens from securing property at a July 12 meeting following Hurricane Dennis, which made landfall July 10.
The measure allowed property owners to shore up damaged property in imminent danger of collapsing by constructing temporary walls. Permits were to be purchased by a licensed contractor.
The vote was approved unanimously, which included Cuchens’ vote.
Based on Florida Statute 112.3143, public officials cannot vote on a measure that would personally affect them, Commission on Ethics spokesperson Helen Jones said. If there is ever a question if a measure presents a voting conflict, public officials should abstain from voting and file a query, she said.
If someone believes there may be a conflict, the Commission on Ethics interprets the law and will render an opinion, Jones explained, once a complaint has been lodged.
Civil penalties for violating the statute can incur civil penalties, public censure or removal from office.
The temporary wall permits are only valid for 60 days after completion, then homeowners must apply to FDEP for a permanent permit, Williams explained.
The FDEP is monitoring the progress of sea wall construction throughout Walton County. Currently, all structures are in compliance with permit deadlines, Williams said.
However, U.S. Fish and Wildlife expressed concern about violations of the Endangered Species Act in regard to as many as 158 seawalls.
Cuchens was contacted for comment but messages left for him at his office were not returned as of Thursday morning.
From Walton Sun
Disgust has filled me during the past several months as I have watched brown sand being placed on our once beautiful beaches here.
While the county engineers have attempted to assure me that this sand will be topped off with three feet of white sand, I still maintain that the brown sand will mix with what’s left of our natural white quartz and sand when the next storm hits.
There is also the question of the size of the grain.
Samples of grains of sand as large as rock salt and some even pebble size were taken by me to the county engineers office where I was told by the chief engineer that he was not concerned with the size.
Excuse me? What is this?
Very recently we spent an informative evening listening to Brad Pickel who related the problems in finding the appropriate sand to be used for the upcoming beach nourishment. Appropriate was defined as being the correct color and size of the grain.
Now someone please explain to me why the size of the grain does not matter in what’s now been dumped on our beaches versus what is appropriate for the nourishment.
Face facts – the two are going to get mixed together one way or another.
It is obvious to so many that down the road we will all live with the results of the bad judgment which has allowed the dumping of totally inappropriate sand on the beach. These judgments were made in haste in a misguided effort to help people save their houses when the correct thinking all along should have been save our beaches.
It has been so unfortunate that people panicked after summer’s storms and thought dumping anything on the beach and building a seawall was the answer to the problems. Surely these people knew the Gulf was there when they bought or built their homes. And since time began, there have been storms.
My disgust reached new heights last Friday (Jan. 20) when I went to the beach and saw a bulldozer go to the water’s edge and began pushing our beautiful natural beach sand up to piece of beachfront property where a seawall is going on.
This was being done in spite of the fact that there are no permits out to anyone to scrape on the beach.
This was not the first time that I have seen this and I cannot but wonder about what kind of insanity permits it to continue.
Unfortunately, this world is full of those people who think it’s all right to do as they please. They know a permit is required when they build, know they are taking beach sand that is not theirs, but folks like this just don’t give a damn.
All of us have been so fortunate to enjoy a beautiful beach which nature created and nature occasionally decides to tear up or rearrange some. Perhaps it’s time for all to do as Seaside and Rosemary Beach are doing, and let nature take its course with beach nourishment being the only help.
02-05-2006, 07:55 AM #45
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by SoWalSally
and my reaction after reading the bit about 'let nature take its course' was the proverbial teenage 'well, duh!'
02-15-2006, 12:09 PM #46
From Anita Page
SWCC Executive Director
Hello everyone. Here is some information on an issue that must soon be
resolved by the county. This is a complicated issue and is still evolving so bear with us as we try to keep you informed.
County Role and Taxpayer Money In Private Seawall Permits
On Jan. 30th, 2006, U.S. Fish & Wildlife (U.S.F.&W.) issued a letter to the
county stating that the seawalls on 158 out of 220 properties could negatively impact the habitat of three federally listed species- sea turtles, beach mice and piping plovers. Any action, including detrimental habitat modification (which will ultimately impact the species), that harms a listed species is called a “take” under the Endangered Species Act.
Any person who wants to do an activity (e.g., construct a seawall) that might impact an listed species must apply to U.S.F.&W. for an “incidental take permit”.
An “incidental take permit” allows an activity to continue that would otherwise constitute an illegal take of a listed species. If the incidental take is allowed, the person must mitigate for the “take” by establishing a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) that reduces or compensates for the harm to the species.
The letter states the county must obtain an “incidental take” permit as the
county’s action in issuing the temporary permits facilitated a take. Additionally, the letter states each of the 158 property owners are required to have an incidental take permit if they are seeking a permanent permit for their walls. In addition to the permits, both the county and the individual property owners are responsible for implementing and maintaining an HCP.
Without an incidental take permit, the letter warns both the county and
property owners could face prosecution under the Endangered Species Act if a “take” occurs as a result of a seawall.
For logistical reasons, U.S.F.&W. has asked the county to apply for one permit
on behalf of itself and the 158 private properties and to implement one HCP in
lieu of individual permits and HCPs. According to U.S.F.&W., there are grant
funds available to help defray the cost of the HCP. Proposals, however, must be submitted by March 20, 2006. We strongly encourage the county to vigorously pursue any potential grant funding for the Habitat Conservation Plan.
With regard to the 158 properties, it seems the county has several choices:
1. Do not apply for the county-wide permit. Let each individual property owner seek their own take permit and implement and maintain their own HCP.
2. File for a county-wide permit on behalf all affected property owners, apply
for a grant and administer an HCP on behalf of everyone.
If this option is chosen, we have two questions:
1. What is the county’s liability if it files for the permit and administers an
HCP on behalf of the private property owners?
2. Who will pay for the county-wide permit, the grant application and the
implementation and maintenance of the HCP?
3. Let each affected property owner get their own incidental take permit. For
consistency and the development of a comprehensive HCP, the county would
apply for a grant and administer an HCP on behalf of all the permit holders.
Again, who will pay for the HCP?
We understand that a comprehensive and integrated county-wide Habitat
Conservation Plan administered by the county may provide the strongest habitat protection for listed species and for the integrity of the beaches and dunes as opposed to 158 individual HCPs. Requirements of an HCP often include acquiring land for habitat, restoration of degraded habitat, strengthening buffers around habitat, modifications of land use practices, etc. It may well be that the county should administer the HCP on behalf of everyone.
We are not so sure, however, that county time and resources should be spent in pursuing a permit for the benefit of the 158 private property owners who want their walls to be permanent. U.S.F.&W. acknowledges the permit process “can be lengthy”.
A recent article in the Walton Sun (Jan. 28th), implied that if the county helped the private property owners “by obtaining the costly permits”, it would do so at its own (taxpayer) expense, “something that might not sit well with inland property owners”. Our assumption would be that if the county undertakes to act on behalf of the private property owners with regard to obtaining a permit and/or establishing and maintaining an HCP, those property owners would contribute their fair share of all the expenses incurred by the county for their behalf.
February 14th County Commissioner Meeting on this Issue
Answers to these questions may be provided on February 14th. On that date,
Planning Staff will provide an update to the Commissioners on these issues at
the DeFuniak Springs courthouse. The meeting starts at 4:00 p.m. This issue is currently on the agenda for 6:50 p.m. The times are flexible, however. If you want to attend, I suggest you get there earlier than the scheduled time.
02-15-2006, 01:46 PM #47
Re: SeawallsOriginally Posted by Amp22
Gulf-front property owners may have a chance to spare Walton County taxpayers from paying for beach armoring.
Walton County is investigating a unified take permit for Gulf-front property owners from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
If the Board of County Commissioners approves the measure, the county would facilitate the application and property owners would foot the bill, explained County Attorney David Hallman.
“We’re trying to find a solution that satisfies everyone,” he said.
On July 12, 2005, the county voted to permit temporary armoring of coastal properties. However, officials at U.S. Fish and Wildlife expressed concern over seawall construction “taking” endangered species habitat along the Walton County coast. At least 52 of the more than 200 constructed sea walls are in federal violation of endangering species’ habitats, according to FWS estimates.
FWS has urged Walton County to apply for a blanket incidental take permit, which allows the taking of endangered species habitat through construction.
However, the county
is trying to ensure taxpayers are not penalized for sea walls constructed by Gulf-front pro perty owners, Hallman said.
To accomplish this, they are hoping to create one document facilitated by the county and signed and paid for by homeowners involved with armoring.
Hallman will discuss the legal consequences of beach armoring and the unified take permit March 21 at 5 p.m. in the South Walton Annex.
“We’ll wait and see what happens,” he said.
At the end of April, all temporary armoring permits issued by the county will expire.
“As a consequence, (at that time) there will be no one constructing on the beach as a result of county permits,” County Attorney David Hallman said.
The permits expire just in time for turtle nesting season, which begins May 1.
In light of Hurricane Dennis, which made landfall July 10, 2005, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection released an emergency final order for temporary measures to protect structures from further destruction.
In conjunction with the FDEP order, the Board of County Commissioners voted to remove county restrictions prohibiting residents from securing their homes, allowing the construction of sea walls. Following the vote, more than 250 temporary permits were issued in Walton County.
Property owners have 60 days after completion of walls to apply to FDEP for a permanent structure permit.
As of Wednesday, 7 permanent permits had been issued in Walton County and 79 applications were pending, FDEP spokesperson Sara Williams said.
The permits are taking a long time to approve due to the volume of requests, Williams explained.
Residents may receive permanent armoring permits from DEP, however, the federal regulations prohibit building along the coast from May to October to accommodate turtle nesting season.
“(Homeowners) better get on the ball,” Hallman said.
Some homeowners are confused about the ongoing seawall saga in Walton County.
“We still don’t know where we stand,” said resident Debbie Holmes.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission expressed concern over seawall construction “taking” endangered species habitat along the Walton County Coastline after temporary armoring permits were issued following Hurricane Dennis, which made landfall July 10, 2005.
“They all need incidental take coverage,” FWC Deputy Field Supervisor for the Panama City Field Office Janet Mizzi said.
According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, incidental take permits are required when “non-Federal activities will result in “take” of threatened or endangered wildlife.” A habitat conservation plan must accompany any application for an incidental take permit.
According to Mizzi, a consultant is needed to write the HCP, which can range anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000.
“It’s a large range,” she said.
According FWS reports, more than 430 HCPs have been approved, with more in the planning stage. Early HCPs were for planning areas of less than 1,000 acres, now they can exceed half a million acres.
In some cases, there are more than one incidental take permit associated with a HCP. The Central Coastal Orange County HCP was developed as an overall plan under which each individual received a separate permit.
One major landowner, several agencies and few homeowners were part of the permit said Carollyn Lobell, an associate at Nossaman Gunther Knox Eliott, the firm that created Orange County’s plan.
The project provided for the take of the endangered California gnatcatcher and 38 other listed or sensitive species. It established a 37,000-acre habitat reserve and provided adaptive management for the reserve.
Walton County is seeking to facilitate the HCP for beachfront property owners. To accomplish this, they are hoping to create one document facilitated by the county and signed and paid for by homeowners.
From a national perspective, FWS “encourages large scale regional plans,” FWS National HCP coordinator Patricia Cole said. When the HCP process started in 1982, it was intended for individual landowners, however, it has changed to a more “landscape approach,” she said.
“You’ll be heroes if you save the beach out there,” Holmes told the Board of County Commissioners.
“We’re waiting and we’re hoping we can get something moving prior to sea turtle nesting season,” Mizzi said.
County Attorney David Hallman will address the incidental take permits at a meeting on March 13 at the South Walton Annex at 5 p.m.
By Dave Rauschkolb in forum All About SoWalReplies: 69Last Post: 03-25-2006, 09:38 AM