Vandals cause $1 million in damage to Volusia dam system installed after hurricanes, officials say

Tiger Dams installed to reinforce coastline

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. – An experimental system in Volusia County that was installed to serve as a temporary sea wall and reinforce the coastline after hurricanes was vandalized, according to Florida’s emergency management team.

The state has been installing a pilot system, Tiger Dam, at the end of November after storm surges caused by hurricanes Ian and Nicole wiped away the dunes and sea walls along the coast. The system is water-filled tubes that create a dam to guard the dunes from the tides.

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State Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said the vandals hit it overnight and caused about $1 million worth of damage.

“We are going to do everything we can to fix it as fast as we can but as you can see this is truly a catastrophic loss on these tiger dams,” he said.

Guthrie said knowing there was a King Tide advisory Wednesday night, his team went to the beach around 12:30 a.m. to check on the dams, make sure they were working and at that time, he said everything was fine.

“We come out here this morning and we find the tubes had lost their anchorage, but we also found knife cuts in the tubing and knife cuts in the strapping,” he said.

This Tiger Dam is the first time the state used the system on the beach, in the hopes it serves as a temporary sea wall for beachside properties impacted by the storms. Dozens of properties were evacuated after being deemed unsafe after Hurricane Nicole and multiple were partially collapsed due to the stripped sand dunes and sea walls.

The state has installed about 3,000 feet of the Tiger Dam along the coast but 300-500 feet just south of Frank Rendon Park in Daytona Beach Shores was ruined.


“All in all we’ve spent somewhere probably between $7 million and $10 million on Tiger Dams. We’ve probably lost about a million, $1.5 million in Tiger Dams that were vandalized and destroyed last night,” he said.

Guthrie said the entire beach is under surveillance video.

“Even though we have this under video surveillance, we have crews that work here literally around the clock, we’re obviously going to have to put somebody on the beach, roaming patrols to make sure this does not happen again,” Guthrie said.

Now, the director said they also have to work with the tides, cold weather, and holidays to quickly replace it before the next major tide can come in and hit the dune.

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About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.