Article Courtesy of News 4
By Roxy Tyler
Published February 27, 2019
FLAGLER COUNTY - All that remains of Flagler County’s unique, in-house 11.4 mile
dunes restoration project are the finishing touches: finalizing cleanup,
reshaping some areas affected by high tides, and planting protective vegetation
such as sea oats.
“We anticipate completing these details
within the next four weeks,” said County engineer Faith
Alkhatib. “Our original completion date was April 31 – one
day before the start of sea turtle nesting season – so we
are ahead of our schedule.”
The dunes restoration project also came in well under
budget. It was initially estimated at $28.3 million, but the
actual costs round up to about $20 million.
The purpose of dunes restoration is to provide a buffer of
sacrificial sand between beach properties and the ocean to
protect Flagler County’s coastal communities.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit
obtained by Flagler County before it could undertake the project stipulates
that the dunes are to be resurveyed annually. Compaction testing is required
each year before sea turtle nesting season, and tilling will be required in
areas where the dune compaction exceeds permit requirements.
The two departments under Alkhatib’s direct supervision – Engineering and
Road and Bridge – committed to tackle the multi-faceted project in house,
which is a first in Florida.
No other local government within the state has completed such an expansive
project, which included 19 reaches with different funding sources – most of
which was covered by FEMA, Florida Department of Environmental Protection,
and Flagler County. Three homeowners associations – Hammock Beach Club,
Ocean Hammock, and Hammock Dunes – kicked in at least a third of the funding
for the length of dunes in front of their individual properties.
“This project is a testament to the capabilities and dedication of Flagler
County staff to our residents,” said Commission Chair Donald O’Brien.
“Members of these two departments worked long days and weekends throughout
the restoration work to get this protective dune in place as quickly as
Plans are underway to recognize Engineering and Road Bridge staff at a
reception at 4 p.m. April 15, immediately before the regular meeting of the
Board of County Commissioners. Residents are encouraged to attend.