SJC Headlines Beach Preservation National Conference

St. Johns County was the headline presenters at the recent 37th annual National Conference on Beach Preservation Technology featuring County Commissioner Henry Dean and Coastal Management staff speaking about the six coastal management projects started in 2023 and four additional projects planned for 2024/25 totaling more than $70M in various beach preservation, dune repair, and shoreline stabilization efforts. St. Johns County has 42 miles of Atlantic coastline and manages 32 miles of shoreline, with more than 17 miles designated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as critically eroded.

District 5 County Commissioner Dean kicked off the national conference with a welcome message. Dean has served as County Commissioner since 2016. According to the County’s Coastal Management Department since 2016 the St. Johns Council Board of County Commissioners has authorized the completion of seven projects and placement of approximately 4.8M cubic yards of sand. Funding of $83M has come from the Federal government, United States Army Corps of Engineers, and Federal Emergency Management Agency, and $13.5M from the State of Florida.

Costal Management staff led by Coastal Environment Project Manager Stephen Hammond and Manager of Coastal Management Damon Douglas showcased the six coastal projects started in 2023, with four being completed, as well as the four additional projects kicking off in 2024/25. They noted that St. Johns County’s beach management projects have also resulted in record results for nesting sea turtles along the County’s coastline. In 2023, the county announced it hit triple digits for nesting green sea turtle with 133.

The national conference was presented by the Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association (FSBPA) and held at the Embassy Suites St. Augustine Beach from Feb. 7 – 9, 2024. Attendees invited to participate included professional engineers from federal, state, and local governments, elected officials, academic researchers, tourism planners as well as coastal biologists and geologists.

The FSBPA was organized in 1957 at a meeting of 37 local government and university leaders concerned about the growing problem of beach erosion that had virtually destroyed important resort beaches such as Miami Beach. They recognized that erosion was a statewide problem that couldn’t be handled by individual cities and counties alone. The first acts of the newly created FSBPA were to persuade the 1957 Legislature to get the State of Florida involved in beach preservation.