Hang on to the sand

By Courtney Gaver | gargoyle@flagler.edu

St. Augustine residents are growing concerned about beach erosion due to a recent visitor, Tropical Storm Fay. Beach homeowners are worried that their houses are barely hanging on to the sand.

Although there is significant erosion in St. Augustine beach, the erosion is most evident at Vilano Beach, where the sand is not even visible during hide tide.

St. Johns County Assistant Property Appraiser Pamela Mann said, “The recent damage occurring due to Tropical Storm Fay appeared to impact the 3,200-3,500 blocks of Coastal Highway most significantly.”

Many of the homes have taken on a temporary fix. Hundreds of sand bags were brought in last week to try and make a barrier between homes and the surf. These homes will be more protected in case of another hurricane or tropical storm.

Toni Gindlesperger, a construction drafter at A.D. Davis Construction, is concerned about the beachfronts. “Mother Nature is in control,” Gindlesperger said. “We fight the effects and it’s costly.
One good storm and the houses are gone.”

In the future, Vilano Beach may need to undergo a more permanent fix. Beach re-nourishment projects could restore the receding sand line to how it was back in 2005.

St. Augustine Beach underwent two multi-million-dollar restorations in 2003 and 2005 after rough hurricane seasons.

According to the St. Johns County Shore Protection Project’s Surfing Aspect Report, St. Augustine Beach not only regained the sand and protected homes from losing their real estate, it even improved local surfing conditions.

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