The Project entails re-nourishment of the County’s Sector 7 Beach & Dune Restoration Project via placement of about 295,000 cubic yards of beach-compatible sand fill and about 53,000 native dune plants over 2.2 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach in southern Indian River County. Sand fill is proposed to be obtained from either (a) the County’s Offshore Borrow Area, or (b) an upland sand source pre-qualified by the County, or (c) an upland sand source separately approved by Florida Department of Environment Protection. To avoid adverse impacts to nesting sea turtles, construction is expected to be completed during the period from November 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023.
Funding for the Sector 7 Beach and Dune Restoration Project was included in the FY 20/21 budget in the amount of $9,900,000.00. An increase to this amount up to $11,000,000.00 has been requested in the FY 21/22 budget year reflecting projected market adjustments. Partial funding for the Sector 7 Beach and Dune Restoration Project is made available through FEMA funding as shown in the table below. Additionally, insurance proceeds and FDEP Local Governmental Funding Requests (LGFR) grants are also made available for this project.
The Sector 7 project area is made up of 82 properties, all of which require beach management easements for the placement of sand on the properties. At a regularly scheduled County Commission meeting in 2020, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) concurred with staff that a 90% or greater number of signed easements would be targeted as the goal to move forward with construction of the Sector 7 Beach and Dune Restoration Project. To date, County staff has successfully obtained only 59 of the 82 easements from property owners or 72% of the required easements. This is 15 properties short of the County's goal of attaining 90% or greater due to lack of stakeholder's support. Currently, denied easements make up 14% of properties, meaning the County is not allowed to place sand on these denied properties. Properties that have yet to respond to the County's easement requests make up the remaining 14%.
County staff recently presented a Sector 7 easement status update and project options at the July 6th, 2021 BCC meeting. Due to the current lack of easements required to construct a viable Sector 7 Beach and Dune Nourishment Project, the Indian River County BCC directed staff to again delay the Sector 7 Project for one year.
Anticipated bidding, additional preconstruction monitoring, and construction is now slated to take place beginning the summer of 2022. This project delay allows staff additional time to continue pursuing the required easements from homeowners who have yet to execute them, as well as denied properties. Postponing the project does put the funding offered to the County for this project at risk. County staff will seek extensions from the appropriate funding agencies.