The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) recognized the Duval County Shore Protection Project as one of the nation’s best restored beaches for 2019. The project includes four county beaches: Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville beaches, and Hannah Park.
The area had back to back sand renourishments over more than eight miles of shoreline following Hurricanes Matthew (2016) and Irma (2017).
Multiple stakeholders, including the Corps of Engineers, City of Jacksonville, Olsen & Associates, beach communities and residents, worked to overcome obstacles. State and federal agencies accelerated normal process timeframes to ensure protection was in place prior to the next hurricane season.
Hurricane Matthew caused a loss of about 680,000 cubic yards of sand from the beaches in October 2016.
“The team’s emergency preparedness and response restored the beach to pre-storm conditions in record time,” Corps Project Manager Jason Harrah said. This reduced the impacts resulting from Hurricane Irma, which caused a loss of roughly 660,000 cubic yards of sand less than a year later in September 2017. The Corps of Engineers was able to take advantage of existing beach construction contracts to cost effectively repair the beaches after Hurricane Matthew, and again following Irma, he said.
The Duval County project was initially constructed from 1978 to 1980 and since then, seven principal nourishments occurred (1985 to 1987, 1991, 1995, 2005, 2011, 2017, 2018) in addition to periodic placement of sand dredged from navigation projects. Beach renourishment normally occurs about every five to six years to maintain the beaches as part of the project.