St. Johns beach renourishment projects to begin June

ST. JOHNS, Fla. — About 13 miles of St. Johns County beaches will be part of dune enhancement projects after Hurricanes Ian and Nicole caused devastation.

The projects could start as early as June after the county got 600 of 1,000 possible easements.

After Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, FEMA helped pay to replace the dunes at about 11 miles of St. Johns coastline, which cost about $33 million.

Ian and Nicole wiped away most of that work, and new estimates show it will cost about $30 million to replace those dunes again.

FEMA would pay 75% of the cost and the rest would be split between the county and state.

“Without the sand on the beach, it’s just a big puddle of water out there — all water, no sand, no use,” said Vivian Browning. She’s lived in Vilano for years and started Vilano Beach Main Street.

Vilano is the only St. Johns Beach community that did not meet the county’s required 60% easement requirement to move forward with beach renourishment. Only about 26% gave approval. Browning persuaded commissioners to extend the deadline by one week for residents to sign easements.

“These oceanfront properties will no longer be able to sustain themselves,” Browning said.

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