Sunday, March 3

Indian River County gearing up for more erosion amid efforts to restore beaches, dunes

Officials in Indian River County are closely keeping an eye on the crashing waves and gusting winds expected during this weekend’s storms amid fears the wet weather could once again chip away at the beaches the county recently spent millions of dollars to restore.

In November, the County began Sector 3 of their Beach and Dune Restoration project to restore sand lossfrom past hurricanes, on 6.6 miles of shorelinea $13 million project.

Yet Friday, powerful wind and smacking swells once again pummeled Wabasso Beach and other shorelines, leading to more expectations of erosion.

“It’s really unfortunate to see, it’s really tricky to build a beach when its, at the same time, being eroded away,” Quinton Bergman, Indian River County’s Coastal Resource Manager, said.

Bergman said the project, a step forward, is now on hold as Mother Nature once again pounds away, taking the county’s one step forward and two steps back.

Still, Bergman isn’t too worried.

“This is why we do dune nourishment,” he said. “If we don’t do this the beach and dune just continue to erode, so its a maintenance process.”

Several residents in the area came out to film the waves and watch the wind during Friday’s nasty weather.

“It’s crazy, its just crazy, its volatile,” Stacy Slazes said.

“The first thing I said when we sat down was those waves are huge,” Heather Gaubin added.

Todd Breland came to check out the swells, and said as an avid hurricane watcher, he hadn’t seen many waves like the ones crashing onto Wabasso Beach’s shores.

“This is amazing to witness, it really is,” Breland said.

“Wow, you dont see it like that often, and theres no beach left,” Slazes added.

Still, residents had faith beaches will bounce back once the storm passes and the restoration project continues.

“Theres repercussions to Mother Nature’s wrath, but were not going to change things, this is the way things happen,” Breland said.

Bergman said the contractor for the restoration project is expected to resume work on Dec. 18, and said no matter how much damage the beaches sustain, it shouldn’t affect the cost of the project.

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