MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. – Brevard commissioners Tuesday voted unanimously to start the process of planning a beach renourishment project after the county estimated Hurricane Ian’s damages to southern beaches at $8.5 million.
The county’s natural resources director Virginia Barker said Ian’s erosion rivals hurricanes Matthew and Irma five and six years ago respectively, which were also followed by multi-million dollar projects to rebuild the dunes.
The county said the total costs of projects since the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 is $56 million.
“Since that time, we’ve been able to work with FEMA, work with grants from the state of Florida to maintain that berm so that those structures that allow the public to access the beach have been protected,” Barker said.
The county said it will seek reimbursement from FEMA and the state to pay for most of the project.
For critics who argue the beach could rebuild itself, Barker said that would take much longer than trucking the sand.
“Waiting for the waves to bring the sand up slowly takes a lot of time,” she said. “We want to make sure that we get these repairs done for the next hurricane season.”
If the process goes according to plan, the county said workers could get started on the project as soon as February.
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