Jpdate from Walton County: -----Original Message----- From: Tracy Louthain [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Monday, September 19, 2005 1:39 PM Subject: Beach Restoration & Dune Walkover Updates The TDC staff continues to focus on beach restoration efforts and the repair of dune walkovers. The following is a full update: Beach Scraping Extended: The county has received an extension by DEP to conduct beach scraping until Oct. 7. Chandler Construction and Ammons Dozier remain under contract for the beach scraping and may scrape a maximum of once per week (scraping requires a surplus of sand of one-foot above the upland beach level in the recovery berm). Since Hurricane Katrina, the county has experienced a large number of "green flag days," which do not bring as much sand onshore. The weather patterns are changing and we are hopeful that scraping will resume this week. Beach Restoration Efforts along the 30-A Communities: There continues to be a growing concern regarding the future restoration of other sections of Walton County beaches. Staff has been diligently working on the coordination of our consultant's efforts and in contact with state and federal partners to determine what can be done. In discussions with Florida DEP staff including Secretary Colleen Castille and Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems Chief Mike Barnett, they have pledged to support permitting for future efforts. However, there still remains a fair amount of work that needs to be done. After Ivan, the amount of "critically eroded" shorelines increased from roughly 6.5 miles to 11.9 miles including new areas in Seagrove Beach, Blue Mountain, and Gulf Trace. This designation highlighted the need for new restoration efforts outside of the previous three trouble spots: western Walton County, a small section in Dune Allen and 2000-ft in Inlet Beach. Based on these new damages, staff worked with the Mobile District of the US Army Corps of Engineers to identify funds that could be requested to accelerate the existing Federal Shore Protection Feasibility Study for the entire County. Also, beach profiles were collected countywide for the federal study. TDC Staff, Taylor Engineering and the Mobile District began the process of identifying and reviewing all available offshore sand sourcing information to identify prospective offshore areas for further exploration. When Arlene and Dennis struck Walton County recovery efforts expanded. Our current expectation is that almost all 20 miles of developed shorelines in Walton County will be deemed "critically eroded." The first step that has been taken is to direct Taylor Engineering to collect new beach profiles countywide in August and September to update the Countywide Beach Management Feasibility Study. This work is underway and will include the identification of "new" project areas that require beach restoration. The second step is to collect additional offshore sand samples in September and October within new areas to identify more sand to be considered for beach restoration efforts. Crews are currently working offshore at this time finding new sand deposits, but the sand that is immediately offshore cannot be used for a project and we must look offshore of the second sand bar in more than 30 feet of water depth. As with the initial project, these two actions serve as the groundwork for the decision making process. We expect this information to be available for workshop presentations in late October or November. Based on this time frame, the Board of County Commission could recommend projects that would begin the permitting process by the first of the year. As mentioned above, it is our understanding that the state permit would be fast tracked and the FDEP would assist us with our federal permitting if necessary. Two additional issues of concern that could delay any project is the lack of community support and funding. Early estimates put the cost of a project at around $3-4 million dollars per mile. At 15 miles the cost could run well in excess of $50 million dollars. Historically, TDC tax collections for beach nourishment have been utilized to pay for these types of activities. Those revenues will continue to be used as a primary source, but additional funding would likely be needed. Funding will likely be a hot topic at the upcoming workshops. During the permitting process for the western Walton County project, five property owners contested the project that led to a delay of over one year. This could also happen with any future projects. Staff is also working with the Mobile District of the US Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that any possibility of future federal funding is considered. If a supplemental appropriation bill is passed, we are hopeful that we will at least receive funding to accelerate the federal feasibility study as well as receive actual restoration dollars in the long term. Federal construction dollars are a long shot but something we are investigating. Large-scale restoration project for western Walton County: The large-scale restoration project for a 4.8 mile stretch of critically-eroded beach in western Walton County is currently slated for November. The County received its permit from DEP and is awaiting the federal permit. In the meantime, the county is collecting RFPs from lending institutions to obtain a $20 million loan for the project. Taylor Engineering is re-surveying the 4.8 mile stretch of critically-eroded beach in preparation for the nourishment project since the coastline has changed drastically from the original survey. The federal permit is forthcoming now that the state permit has been issued. Dune Walkover Rebuilding: Currently, Floridian Construction is installing pilings for the beach accesses that will be constructed. Due to our requirement for increased piling depth, this process requires a front end loader to jet the piles into place. Since the emergency order, which allows equipment on the beach will expire on October 7th, the TDC has directed Floridian Construction to secure all pilings with equipment prior to that date. After all pilings have been set, the boardwalk construction will commence. As of September 14th, the pilings have been set at the following beach accesses. Norwood Lake Causeway Inlet Beach (center) Sea Breeze Ramsgate Gulfview Heights Beach Highlands Van Ness Butler Andalusia One Seagrove Santa Clara Dogwood/Thyme Once pilings are installed for all 21 dune walkovers, construction will begin at the Santa Clara, Ramsgate and Beachwood Villas (Tom Thumb) beach access points. Debris Removal Debris removal was completed as of September 14th. Any remaining debris will need to be removed at the owner's expense.