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Funding delays erosion help in Vilano Beach

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Updated: 12/02/2013 8:52 pm
VILANO BEACH, Fla. -- Lack of federal funding has delayed a study that aims to find ways to prevent beach erosion in Vilano Beach, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Local nor'easters have wreaked havoc on the St. Johns County coast line. Over the weekend homeowners woke up to find their walkways washed off. Steep 12-foot drops now sit where the beach access used to be.

Residents like Linda Dettlings say they've had to deal with erosion for years, but this time it's hitting way too close for comfort.

"We keep seeing it dwindle away little by little," said Dettlings.

Jackie Keizer with the Army Corps of Engineers said the feasibility study aims to find ways to reduce the effects of erosion. Before funding dried up, engineers were looking at a beach renourishment plan.

"It looks like the federal project may be several years out, but there could be potential for a small local project that could bring in sand from some local municipalities in Florida," Keizer.

But Keizer said the smaller project plan would require homeowners to pitch in financially.

According to Keizer, the study costs about $2 million, and is split between local and federal government. 

Action News received this statement from a spokesperson for St. Johns County:

"St. Johns County is actively supporting and has advanced funding to expedite a corps of engineers federal feasibility study that will determine the most appropriate solutions to address naturally occurring erosion on our coastline."

St. Johns County leaders say they can't move forward without this study. Workers were out Monday surveying the damage and blocking off a beach access point that was badly eroded.

According to Keizer, when federal funding becomes available the study would take about two years to complete. But there is no timeline on when the money will be received.

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