The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is planning to dredge the St. Augustine Inlet and the Intracoastal Waterway. There will be a public meeting on November 17, 2009 starting at 3 p.m. at the St. Augustine Beach City Hall, 2100 A1A S., St. Augustine Beach, FL at the St. Augustine Port, Waterway & Beach District meeting.
Articles have been written in local publications about the dredging of the inlet to renourish St. Augustine Beach at the possible detriment to the properties north of the St. Augustine inlet in Vilano Beach, North Beach, and South Ponte Vedra Beach.
Linda Chambless, with the South Ponte Vedra - Vilano Beach Restoration Association Inc., wrote an article that appeared in the North Shores News last month with great details about the dredging and its impacts. She is an oceanfront property owner in South Ponte Vedra.
The property owners north of the inlet do not have an issue with St. Augustine Beach being renourished, but do with the source of the sand for that renourishment.
Letters have been written requesting research to be done before dredging from the St. Augustine inlet commences. E-mails have been sent to county commissioners and others. Possibly the best e-mail was sent by Bob Moore, a North Beach property owner and member of the South Ponte Vedra - Vilano Beach Restoration Association Inc. His e-mail will be included in the next issue of North Shores News.
The latest news is the plan is not just to dredge the St. Augustine inlet, but also the Intracoastal. As a property owner on the Intracoastal, I was surprised that I was not noticed on this event. I have requested detailed info from the Corps and hope to receive it shortly. The Intracoastal in Porpoise Point is extremely deep, which begs the "why dredge" question. Hopefully, I will be receiving researched answers from the Corps shortly. The Corps is not only affecting beachfront properties in Vilano, North Beach, and S. Ponte Vedra, but Porpoise Point and others along the Intracoastal in those same neighborhoods. I don't believe the Intracoastal property owners in any of the neighborhoods north of the St. Augustine inlet got noticed. Let me know if you know otherwise.
The Florida State legislature passed HB 1427 in 2008, known as the beach management bill. The summary analysis on this bill states: "The bill provides legislative intent to direct and commit the state's beach management efforts to address beach erosion caused by Florida's inlets, and declares that it is in the public interest to replicate the natural flow of sand at inlets." The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary, Michael W. Sole, spoke to the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association's (ASBPA) National Coastal Conference on October 14, 2009 about HB 1427.
As president of A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway ("Friends of A1A"), a national scenic byway, we are concerned about losing this highway to the ocean if dredging occurs in the St. Augustine Inlet. Commission Mica was contacted when water came within feet of washing out the road a couple of months ago and is keeping a watchful eye on anything that can endanger the evacuation route for residents.
South Ponte Vedra - Vilano Beach Restoration Association Inc. has been very involved in trying to understand the impact of dredging the St. Augustine inlet. Here is a report from an engineer and their letter to the Florida DEP (FDEP). Additionally they have requested further study to be done by the FDEP.
If interested, please attend the public meeting:
MEETING DATE: Tuesday, Nov 17, 2009
TIME: 3:00 P.M.
LOCATION: St. Augustine Beach City Commission
Meeting Room, 2200 A1A South,
St. Augustine Beach, FL
Please send any comments or concerns to: Robert Riddell telephone 904-232-2451 or email Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara Jenness takes joy in assisting people in buying or selling their home or land in northeast Florida (St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, and Jacksonville). She is a community activist and leader serving as President of Friends of A1A 2008-2010, Past President of Scenic & Historic A1A in St. Johns County for over 10 years, and past vice-president of Vilano Beach Main Street (North Shores Improvement Association). She is a past president for WCR in St. Augustine and a member of South Ponte Vedra Civic Association, Porpoise Point, Serenata Beach Club, and Palencia. She founded and is a Past President of the St. Augustine Regional Council (StAR Council) to promote the St. Augustine area to individuals outside the region.
Awards: REALTOR of the Year, Businesswoman of the Year, SPIRIT Award Passion, Five-Star Best in Client Satisfaction-7 Years Winner