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Sand placement project planned for same beach that lost the sand 2 years ago in Vilano

Vilano and South Ponte Vedra had $15M beach nourishment project in 2021. Another is planned for this summer. Is it necessary or a waste?

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Washed out.

That’s what happened to a First Coast beach that -- just two years ago – had tons of sand and millions of dollars dumped onto it.

Now, hardly any of that sand is left along Vilano Beach and South Ponte Vedra. It's been all washed away by storms, and in months, yet another sand project will start there in the same exact place.

In late 2020 and early 2021, tons of sand was pumped onto and spread across the three-mile stretch of beach.

Roughly 1.3 million cubic yards of sand or 93,000 dump trucks worth was pumped from the St. Augustine Inlet and placed along the shore. 

It cost $15.1 million, and was paid for by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and St. Johns County. The project aimed at repairing the erosion caused by storms Matthew and Irma.

Months later, a nor'easter, and then later tropical storms Ian and Nicole, stripped the newly-placed sand. 

Most recently, this week’s nor'easter smacked the beach again. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to do pretty much the same exact project. It will start this summer on the same exact stretch of beach.

An Army Corps flyer says the project will address the “impact of Tropical Storms Ian and Nicole.”

While the first project cost $15 million, this next one has a price range of $10M to $25M. Some residents say the projects are a waste of money. 

However, the Army Corps of Engineers says a study of this area proves the project has benefits.

They say these periodic sand placements will strengthen the resilience of beach dunes and berms to lessen damage to infrastructure, homes and to State Road A1A, as well as help the environment.

This is part of a federal 50-year-plan to help Vilano and Ponte Vedra Beach, and it takes into account the fact that waves will wash it away. 

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