State Awards $922,016 To Nassau County, FL For Hurricane Beach Erosion

Florida Senate Bill 4A Awarded Funds For Battered Beaches In 16 Coastal Counties, Including Nassau (Amelia Island)

Funds For Beach Nourishment Projects In Florida Counties Impacted By Hurricanes Ian & Nicole

Governor Ron DeSantis announced on January 18, 2023 the award of $100 million to support beach nourishment projects within 16 coastal counties impacted by Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole (or both).

“The coastal erosion caused by these storms not only damaged upland structures and infrastructure but left them vulnerable to subsequent storms if not addressed,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “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.”

It was last month in December 2022, when Governor DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 4A. This bill allocated funding to address coastal erosion resulting from the two back-to-back storm events, Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole, occurring during the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane season.

Photos seen here are eroded dunes in northeast Florida along the Atlantic coast of Amelia Island after Ian and Nicole.

PROGRESS WASHED AWAY: Sand gone where dunes had been building up (where bare posts stand). Amelia Island photo November 11, 2023 after Hurricane Nicole & predecessor Ian).
PROGRESS WASHED AWAY: Sand gone where dunes had been building up around the now bare posts. (Amelia Island photo November 11, 2022 after Nicole)

According to the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection’s distribution list of 2022 Special Session Funding, Nassau County’s award is $922,016, with its coastal beachfront on Amelia Island. By comparison, less than half that amount of funding was awarded to neighboring county, Duval ($418,750), home to Jacksonville’s beaches.

Here in Nassau County, Florida, the year 2022 is the first time in at least three decades (maybe ever), when two evacuation orders were issued during a single hurricane season, impacting Amelia Island and other areas in Nassau on the mainland.

Battered dunes near the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island & Carlton Dunes condo buildings. (Photo Nov. 11, 2022 after Nicole)
Battered dunes near the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island & Carlton Dunes condo buildings. (Photo Nov. 11, 2022 after Nicole)

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 Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “I am thankful for the support and leadership of Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to accelerate restoration and further protect these impacted communities from future storm events.”

The three highest funding awards (counties with highest hurricane impacts), were Volusia ($37,689,745), Lee ($23,141,196), and Flagler ($17,016,156).

According to the state’s news release, “The impacts of Hurricane Nicole on coastal communities exacerbated the impacts that Hurricane Ian had on the same areas. September, Hurricane Ian made landfall at Cayo Costa in Lee County, then traveled across the state. When Ian exited the Florida peninsula in Volusia County as a tropical storm, it quickly 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.”

Amelia Island's Peters Point After Ian (photo September 30, 2022) in Nassau County, Florida
Amelia Island’s Peters Point After Ian (photo Sept. 30, 2022) in Nassau County, FL

The January 18, 2023 news release indicated that the $100 million award is in addition to the $20 million awarded in November to help several governments immediately address erosion concerns while other assessments were ongoing to help inform long-term opportunities for assistance.

For more info about the awards, see the complete 16 county list with associated funding per county .

Nassau County, FL Emergency Management

Those living on Amelia Island and other Nassau County, Florida residents can find further information about hurricane evacuation procedures, preparation, and interactive maps showing evacuation zones for emergencies by visiting Nassau County Emergency Management’s website.