Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Save Ponte Vedra Beach Association hired coastal engineering firm Olsen Associates to do an initial assessment. Engineering specialist Erik Olsen answers critical questions:
What will happen if we do nothing?
The entire coast would eventually be sea-walled and the beaches would disappear—even at low tide. Ponte Vedra would lose its recreational beach. It would be just water hitting the walls.
Will beach renourishment resolve the existing problem or will the sand simply wash away with the next storm event?
Beach nourishment is the only solution to resolving the present day erosion problem experienced along the northern St Johns County shore front. Beach restoration essentially pushes the beach conditions back in time. Beach restoration, however, does not change the forces which move sand naturally along any oceanfront shoreline. Hence it is not a “permanent fix” just like the resurfacing of a roadway or other infrastructure—are permanent fixes. All require maintenance.
Is it a good value or is it a bad investment?
The loss of St John’s County beaches will substantially adversely impact both its tourism-based economy, as well as, ad valorem taxes collected by the County. Moreover, a healthy beach and dune system serve to protect upland properties from storm damage. The long-term experience throughout Florida’s coastal counties and communities has been that it is an overwhelming good value and necessary endeavor. The ROI is estimated at 500%+ per the State of Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
Will it solve the erosion problem?
As noted above it resolves the erosion problem but requires maintenance. Conversely, shoreline armoring (seawalls, sandbags, etc)—the only alternative to many oceanfront owners at present—serves to increase the magnitude and spatial distribution of the existing erosion phenomenon. It simply lowers the beach further and accelerates the erosion of the coastline.
Will dredging exacerbate the erosion being experienced by some oceanfront property owners?
The development of offshore borrow sites as currently proposed– will NOT adversely impact any portion of the oceanfront shoreline. To that point, technical analyses are required by the regulatory agencies to validate that claim. Conversely, the continued armoring of St Johns County beaches will accelerate sand losses and consequential shoreline recession.