St. Johns County Ocean Pier will not be extended, beach will erode back over time county says

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. — According to the county, the St. Johns County Ocean Pier will not be extended into the ocean.


The update comes after Action News Jax reported the ocean pier no longer extends into the ocean after a St. Augustine Beach renourishment project.

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

“The beach nourishment project is designed to be extra wide at the pier. The extra wide berm will erode away during the equilibration process spreading the sand to the north and the south exposing the pier over time,” Stephen Hammond, the coastal environment project manager for St. Johns County, said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers renourishment project started earlier this year costing $33 million in federal funds. It’s the fifth project along St. Augustine Beach since 2003 as part of a 50-year partnership between USACE and the county. A representative said crews typically go out every five years.

RELATED: St. Johns County completes Ponte Vedra Beach Restoration Project two months ahead of schedule

Pepper Uchino, the president of the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association, said while it seems expensive, it is the most cost-effective way to manage coastal erosion. He said it protects Florida’s greatest economic and ecologic asset which Mother Nature continues to threaten with more intense and frequent storms.

“We are going to see more erosion along the coast due to those kinds of natural events that happen, so we’ll have to be more diligent in doing [renourishment] otherwise what we will end up with is an armored coastline that serves no economic or ecological function,” he said. “Think about what your life would be like if you couldn’t go to the beach in Florida.”

Uchino argued the government can’t abandon the private and public infrastructure already in place along Florida’s coastline. However, he said communities should take a closer look at areas that are repeatedly damaged by erosion and consider rebuilding elsewhere.

RELATED: Ponte Vedra Beach deemed critically eroded, County officials create $83 million project to help

“These repetitive loss properties — we should take a close look to see whether or not it is smart to rebuild in certain areas,” he said.

Managers at the Surf Station in St. Augustine Beach welcomed the project.

“It just means the beach is going to be there longer — unfortunately with Mother Nature, it chews back every day. Closer to the buildings; the streets,” Mark Townesend said.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.

Comments on this article