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

Mickler's Landing beach parking and access re-opened as Ponte Vedra Beach Restoration Project is ongoing.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — St. Johns County has reportedly completed the $38.6 million Ponte Vedra Beach Restoration Project two months ahead of schedule, with approximately $30.6 million of the costs covered by state legislative funding and grants.

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Originally anticipated to be completed by mid-August, the project was expedited by Weeks Marine, the County’s contractor, who utilized two dredges for a limited time. This effort enabled the project to be finished by the end of June. The St. Johns County Office of Public Affairs produced a video to capture the project’s success.

The County secured over $30 million from the State of Florida to fund the project, which is estimated to cost approximately $40 million. In the event of a declared disaster, the project could be eligible for post-disaster funding assistance from FEMA and the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

The Ponte Vedra Beach Restoration Project has restored storm-damaged dunes and berms, providing storm protection to upland infrastructure with more than two million cubic yards of sand dredged from the ocean. It has also created additional environmental habitats for wildlife, enhanced the recreational value of the beach, and provided substantial coastline fortifications. This includes dune reconstruction between 13 and 18 feet, beach berm elevation of eight feet, and an increase in beach width from 40 to 180 feet post-construction.

The project area covers about nine miles of coastline, stretching from the St. Johns-Duval County line to the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.

“We’re really excited that this project went the way that it did,” Coastal Environment Project Manager Sloane Stephens said. “It’s been on such an expedited schedule, and our contractor, Weeks Marine, has done a spectacular job with trying to get things done as fast as possible, and we’re really excited that this project will be complete before the end of peak hurricane season in Ponte Vedra.”

In conjunction with the restoration project, St. Johns County has maintained essential environmental and physical monitoring of the coastline. Sea turtle nesting season began on May 1 and runs through October 31.

In 2023, St. Johns County beaches recorded a historic 133 green sea turtle nests as part of a total of 1,205 nests and an estimated 79,811 sea turtle hatchlings.

These conservation successes occurred amid multiple full-scale beach nourishment projects, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Augustine Shore Protection Project, the South Ponte Vedra and Vilano Army Corps Coastal Storm Risk Management Project, the South Ponte Vedra Dune Project, and the FEMA Dune Enhancement Project, which has been renourishing St. Johns County beaches following erosion from Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole.

For more information on St. Johns County Coastal Projects, visit www.sjcfl.us/departments/coastal-projects.

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