Florida Construction News staff writer
Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced $100 million to restore damaged beaches in 16 coastal counties impacted by Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole, in addition to $20 million announced in November to address erosion concerns.
A wide, nourished beach system absorbs wave energy, protects upland areas from flooding, and mitigates erosion. A healthy beach provides a buffer between storm waves and landward areas, preventing destructive waves from reaching the dunes and upland developments.
“Beaches are vital not only to the environment and the state’s economy, but are most importantly our first line of defense against storms,” said Shawn Hamilton, department of environmental protection secretary
The damage from Hurricane Nicole on coastal communities worsened the impacts that Hurricane Ian had on the same areas. In September, Hurricane Ian made landfall at Cayo Costa in Lee County, then traveled across the state.
Ian exited the Florida peninsula in Volusia County as a tropical storm and strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane just offshore of Volusia and Flagler counties, causing heavy beach and dune erosion.
When Hurricane Nicole impacted Florida’s East Coast, it caused significant additional beach damage from high waves, storm surge, and coastal flooding.