Volusia County is set to receive $37.7M out of the $100M set aside for beach renourishment.
Volusia County and other areas that suffered beach erosion from Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole are set to receive $100 million for beach renourishment projects as part of legislation passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in December.
DeSantis highlighted the specific grant amounts to each community during an event Wednesday in Daytona Beach.
Although Hurricane Ian hit the state as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 28 and packed the biggest punch in Southwest Florida, where storm surge caused more than 100 deaths, it brought damaging beach erosion on the east coast as well, especially in Volusia County where dozens of homes and other structures were affected.
“The coastal erosion caused by these storms not only damaged upland structures and infrastructure but left them vulnerable to subsequent storms if not addressed,” DeSantis said. “I am pleased to announce another step to expedite recovery of our communities impacted by these historic storm events. This funding will support beach restoration needs, allowing us to rebuild and further enhance resilience…”
Aesthetics and social inequity are cause for concern as locals grapple with proposals to protect cities from climate change
There were more than a few issues with a recent federal plan to wall Miami off from the dangers of climate change.
The $5bn proposal involved building a massive concrete seawall in the fragile marine ecosystem of Biscayne Bay. It included using taxpayer money to elevate private waterfront mansions, while constructing a wall through the middle of downtown and sometimes low-income neighborhoods.
But the idea of an imposing seawall was also – in the eyes of many residents – unforgivably ugly. Miami’s Downtown Development Authority, which was reportedly alarmed by the prospect of hulking concrete slabs, brought in an architectural firm that created renderings portraying the seawall plan as an almost dystopian vision of the future, featuring grey walls defaced with graffiti reading “Berlin” circling a moat of dirty water.
That helped galvanize an opposition which became so intense that now the project is going back to the drawing board.
It might seem frivolous to focus on the aesthetics of a project that proponents hope will protect Miami from future storm surges that could flatten homes and kill thousands of people – a danger growing more dire each day due to climate change. But the residents, environmentalists, businesspeople and politicians battling to amend this recent seawall proposal see the fight in existential terms: they are trying to preserve the soul of the city.
“Miami is all about our connection to the water,” said Rachel Silverstein, executive director of the environmental research and advocacy group Miami Waterkeeper. “At what point are people not going to want to live here any more because of the solution they’re proposing, which is so destructive to our community and our identity..”
‘Sand is like gold.’ The pricey race to restore Florida beaches before the next hurricane – KOAM News Now
For decades, Florida has been restoring its beaches by dredging or trucking in more sand. But the practice is becoming more challenging — and expensive, thanks to the rising cost of beach-quality sand. Offshore sand deposits, especially on Florida’s southeast coast, are dwindling after decades of repeated beach restoration projects. As local governments squabble over the right to use the remaining sand, its price is rising…
“I think we’re starting to discover that, despite our best efforts and wanting to throw as much money at this as possible, it has become very difficult to keep these beaches as wide as we would like to keep them,” Robert S. Young, a geology professor at Western Carolina University and director of the Program for Developed Shorelines… “We simply don’t have the capacity to hold all of these beaches in place.”
The storm was especially hard on Volusia County, northeast of Orlando, where officials said that inspectors had deemed 24 hotels and condominiums unsafe.
There are some important lessons from Hurricane Ian that we need to think seriously about before we start into yet another cycle of federal aid and rebuilding in the same areas again. Hurricanes are getting more powerful as the oceans continue to warm. It is the evaporation from the warmer ocean waters and the subsequent atmospheric circulation and winds that produce these hurricanes with their associated heavy rainfall and storm surges. They aren’t going away and if anything, all indications are that they will become even more powerful.
Hurricane Ian should make Florida’s politicians and Florida’s insurance companies rethink building on the coasts, the barrier islands, and the wetlands. It’s unaffordable. It’s unsustainable. It’s environmental suicide.