Dunes facing Hurricane Irma threat one week after restoration

Dune restoration wrapped up on Friday with 620,000 plants put in.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Dune restoration wrapped up on Friday, but the dunes in Jacksonville Beach could be facing a new threat from Hurricane Irma just a week after they were completely restored.

More than 600,000 sea oats were planted along 6.5 miles of shoreline.

Kevin Bodge has assisted the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers with dune restoration design after Hurricane Matthew.

The dunes now have as much sand in them as they did before Hurricane Matthew, but they now have an additional 500,000 cubic yards of sand in front of those dunes than they did last year, Bodge said.

Bodge is keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irma. The dunes are prepared to take a little bit of a hit, so long as the storm doesn't get too severe near Jacksonville, he said.

While Bodge has confidence in the dunes, he said the sea oats need another year to mature.

"Feeling as confident this year as we were last year," he said. "The big difference is the sea oats aren't quite ready to handle the stress yet. They take about another year before they have enough root system to really hold the dune together."

The sea oats will get a final inspection later this week.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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