Walton County to beef up its beach dunes Walton Sun Chandler Construction to add sand, plant sea oats along 13.5 miles of coastline; TDC, hurricane grants to cover costs. Walton County will soon begin restoring dunes and planting sea oats along 13.5 miles of beach. The county has contracted with Chandler Construction to haul 50,000 cubic yards of white sand from Owl?s Head to the beaches to create new dunes. The $1,315,920 project should start within two weeks and will take 60 to 75 days to complete, said Brad Pickel, director of beach management with the Walton County Tourist Development Council. The TDC will pick up about 5 percent of the cost, and Hurricane Ivan recovery grants from state and federal governments will cover the rest, Pickel said. The new sand will be placed in four locations. Two areas of beach in western Walton County along Scenic Gulf Drive near Seascape Resort and Conference Center are in desperate need of sand, Pickel said. Without new dunes there, Scenic Gulf Drive will likely sustain extensive damage if another hurricane hits, he said. ?We have grave concerns (about that road),? Pickel said. Jay Nettles, director of operations for Seascape, said there?s nothing but a ?sheer drop-off ? on the southern side of Scenic Gulf Drive near the resort. Anything they can do out there will help,? he said. Two parts of Inlet Beach will also receive new sand. Those areas were part of an experimental porous groyne project and did not benefit from recent efforts to recreate dunes through beach scraping, Pickel said. The groyne ? a series of nets designed to build up sand ? accumulated at least 10,000 cubic yards of sand, Pickel said. ?Now we have a beach there, but we don?t have a dune,? he said. To ensure that the dunes are stabile, the TDC has hired Sarasota-based Aquatic Plants of Florida Inc. to plant 900,000 sea oats, which will take root in the sand and shore up the dunes. The $414,200 project should begin in July, Pickel said. The dune restoration and sea oat planting have to be done before the next storm season to protect structures from another hurricane, Pickel said. Unfortunately, that means it will be done during sea turtle nesting season. Sharon Maxwell of South Walton Turtle Watch said volunteers will quickly relocate any turtle nests found in the areas where work is being done. In those areas, we?re going to be concerned,? she said. ?(But) we?ve had very, very good success (moving nests).? One area that won?t be getting new sand or sea oats is the area in westernmost Walton County that is slated for a beach renourishment project. The beaches there are so narrow that any new sand would wash away with the tide, Pickel said. ?There?s no beach there to support a dune,? he said. The TDC has been working toward a beach renourishment project that will help return some white sand to 4.5 miles of beach in western Walton. The project will involve dredging sand from near the East Pass and pumping it back onto the beaches in western Walton County. The project was scheduled to begin last fall, but opposition from a group of property owners has held it up. Five property owners have filed petitions to stop the renourishment. Administrative hearings on the issue should take place in June or July. Pickel said the TDC hopes to do the renourishment this fall. ?The only thing that will help (western Walton) is a large infusion of sand,? he said.