Nearly 430 miles of Florida beach classified as critically eroded before hurricanes hit

State report reveals erosion was a known issue for years

ORLANDO, Fla. – Before hurricanes Ian and Nicole hit Central Florida, state researchers had declared 426 miles of Florida beach as critically eroded.

According to a report issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, researchers had estimated more than half of the state’s coastline reached a point where the ocean had reclaimed so much sand that tourist activities and ecosystems were in jeopardy.

The report profiled, among other factors, beach and dune erosion, recent storm damage, design adequacy of development, infrastructure, and wildlife habitat.

READ MORE: What does rebuilding look like after two hurricanes hit?

Volusia County

Before it was hit by two storms in 2022, the state’s report found four areas, 22.2 miles, in Volusia County that were classified as critically eroded:

  • A half-mile stretch near the Flagler County line that threatened Highway A1A
  • A 1.6 mile stretch in northern Volusia County that also threated A1A
  • An 11.6 mile stretch that included Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach and Daytona Beach Shores
  • A half-mile stretch near Ponce de Leon
  • An 8.4 mile stretch south of Ponce Inlet, which included New Smyrna Beach and Bethune Beach
Courtesy: Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Flagler County

The state’s report found 8.1 miles of critically eroded beach in Flagler County:

  • A half-mile stretch of beach threatening development and recreational interests at Marineland
  • A 1.1 mile segment of beach in Painters Hill threatened development
  • A 6.4 mile stretch south of Painters Hill
  • An area of 1.2 miles north of the Flagler Beach city limits
  • A 3.3 stretch of beach along southern Flagler Beach threatened Highway A1A
  • Critical erosion of dunes in the southern portion of the county
Courtesy: Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Brevard County

The DEP report showed 41.2 miles of critically eroded beach in Brevard County:

  • A 4.7 mile segment along Kennedy Space Center threatened space facilities, launch pads, Phillips Parkway and buried infrastructure. Beach and dune restoration was being investigated in that area.
  • A 36.5 mile stretch from Canaveral Inlet south, with 11.5 miles of that being classified as critically eroded since the 2004 hurricanes.
  • Beach restoration projects have been done in Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Patrick SFB, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, Indialantic and Melbourne Beach.
Courtesy: Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

News 6 investigated and found the last beach re-nourishment project conducted in Volusia County was completed in 2009 at an adjusted cost of $8.9 million.

County governments bear some of the responsibility for maintaining beach health, but who pays for any beach renourishment project varies from project-to-project.

In some cases, county governments foot the entire bill, while in other cases, the federal government conducts the project with support resources coming from the county.

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About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.