FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Florida’s emergency management division is going to bring an experimental dam project to the coast of Flagler Beach.
It started installing the Tiger Dam system just south in Volusia County as a temporary seawall for at-risk homes and said it worked there, so now it will be tried in Flagler.
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Residents whose homes are at risk of collapse along the coast in Flagler said they know it’s an experiment, yet — knowing how long it could take to get a permanent sea wall installed — they added they’re ready to take any chance they can.
“Where do we get a seawall? Everyone is busy, materials are tight,” resident Carolyn Cass-Larmore said.
Cass-Larmore’s condo is just barely hanging onto its foundation, and with it being a special place to her family, she’s been looking for anything to save it.
“It was a huge part of being my therapy when I lost a child so this means a lot to all of us,” she said.
She said she also knows if her building collapses, A1A would go in, too.
She pleaded to Flagler Beach city leaders to get the Tiger Dam system after seeing one recently installed in Daytona Beach Shores.
“I wanted them to come over the line or create a Flagler Tiger Dam project,” she said.
The city went to the state, which agreed to the plan.
“I am thrilled that they’re on board because we are one rainstorm away from collapse,” she said.
The Tiger Dams are a temporary erosion protection system using stacked tubes filled with water.
About five miles of the system is being installed in the Shores. It’s the first time the state has ever used the system on the beach, but it needed something temporary after recent hurricanes eroded most of Flagler and Volusia’s dunes.
“It is a rather unique experiment but hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. We have to try something,” Flagler Beach City Manager William Whitson said.
Whitson said leaders will install a little less than a mile of the system on the southern end of the city’s beach. He hopes it will buy time for the city and for property owners.
“The property owners need to go through the appropriate permitting process to build the appropriate structures back to protect their property and that’s what we don’t have right now, we don’t have time because mother nature does what she does,” he said.
Then, Whitson said, they can work toward a permanent fix.
“Once they’re in, we’ll begin working with the property owners towards the next step,” he said.
The city hopes to have the beach cleared and dams installed by Christmas.
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