VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — The Volusia County Council will receive $77 million dollars from Florida Department of Environmental Protection grants that will go toward beach erosion recovery efforts.
The county is moving forward with a feasibility study, and will then use the rest of the funds for needed recovery efforts as determined by that study, county leaders said. The funding also will help pay for immediate sand replacement.
What You Need To Know
- Volusia leaders will spend $77 million in FDEP grants to try to restore its beaches
- The county was already to receive $37 million, but the county council just OK'd an amendment to get $40 million more
- Hurricanes Ian and Nicole whisked away about 6 million cubic yards of sand a year ago
- The damage resulted in a drop in elevation on the beach, county leaders say
- Crews will help restore residents' dunes if they approve a county easement
About 6 million cubic yards of sand washed away in hurricanes Ian and Nicole, Volusia County Deputy Manager Suzanne Konchan said. That resulted in a drop in elevation on the beach, county leaders said.
“Which is why Volusia County received $77 million of a $200 million statewide fund for sand,” Konchan said.
The elevation changes have made it difficult for some homeowners to replace the dunes near their seawalls. In the past, residents were required to place at least 4 feet of artificial dune when replacing their seawalls. But now those dunes might end up underwater as the tide rises because of the lower beach elevation.
Volusia County Council originally deferred the dune requirement until 2025, in hopes that the sand would return naturally. However, county leaders said the sand has not returned at the rate officials would like to see.
On Tuesday, Volusia County Council voted to allow residents to waive the requirement. To do so, residents would need to approve an easement on their properties to the county, so that crews can add sand with the money received from the grant.
A year after Hurricane Nicole, some homeowners in Volusia County still have much work to do. Some houses are still abandoned along the Atlantic coast, with their back walls washed away and furniture still in the elements, dangling from the rubble left behind.