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Florida Hurricane Information Quick Links

Beach Restoration and Coastal Construction

Below are questions and answers for for local governments and property owners within Florida regarding beach restoration and coastal construction.


What is the Department’s role in protecting and managing Florida’s coastline?

Along with regulating construction along Florida’s coastline, the Department plans and manages beach restoration projects to restore eroded shoreline in coordination with the federal and local governments. Subsequent maintenance of restored shorelines, referred to as nourishment, is also administered by the Department.

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What activities does the Department regulate and permit along Florida’s shoreline?

The Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) Program regulates construction waterward of the Coastal Construction Control Line and landward of mean high water to protect beach and dune systems, dune vegetation and sea turtles. Regulated activities include the construction of homes, condominiums, hotels and seawalls.

The Joint Coastal Permitting Program regulates activities waterward of the mean high water line to protect beach and dune systems, natural resources and water quality. Regulated activities include beach restoration and nourishment, jetty and breakwater construction, inlet dredging and any other dredging or filling below mean high water.

Local governments ensure that coastal building structures are constructed to withstand storm impacts through local building permits.

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What actions is the Department taking to restore and protect Florida’s shores following Hurricane Dennis?

Following Hurricane Dennis, the Department:

  • Issued a 60-day Emergency Final Order on July 11, 2005 to provide local governments, businesses and property owners with regulatory relief for debris removal and structure repair and dune restoration landward of the mean high water line, within the impacted counties.
  • The emergency relief authorizes repairs without notice, for 60 days following the hurricane but does not waive permits for beach restoration or beach nourishment.
  • Engineers are conducting damage assessments to identify impacts to the beach and dune system and upland structures seaward of the Coastal Construction Control Line. A damage assessment report will document storm impacts to beaches and coastal development, and recommend repair activities.

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What structural repairs does the DEP’s Emergency Final Order authorize?

Under the Emergency Order, residents or local governments in Monroe, Bay, Franklin, Wakulla, Gulf, Escambia, Santa Rosa, Walton and Okaloosa counties can repair or restore the following structures to the authorized configuration without a DEP permit, but may require a local building permit:

  • Public roads, utilities, and beach access ramps.
  • Components of major structures such as windows, roof sheathing, studs and roof trusses.
  • Minor ancillary structures and service utilities associated with existing habitable structures, such as access stairways, stair landings and on-site utilities.

Emergency permits can be authorized by the Department for replacement of substantially damaged structures.

The Emergency Order expires on September 7, 2005.

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What action can local governments take to mitigate storm damage?

Under the Emergency Order, seaward of the Coastal Construction Control Line and landward of mean high water, local governments and utilities in Monroe, Bay, Franklin, Wakulla, Gulf, Escambia, Santa Rosa, Walton and Okaloosa counties can authorize:

  • Removal of hurricane-generated debris, leaving beach-compatible sand on site.
  • Removal of sunken vessels or structural remains, leaving beach-compatible sand on site.
  • Repair of public utilities, roads and beach access points, including repair of surviving beach/dune walkovers.
  • Return of sand deposited upland by the hurricane to the beach and dune system.
  • Restoration of damaged dune systems using compatible sand. The sand may not be obtained from the beach or below the mean high water line, seaward of the CCCL.
  • Restoration of damaged dunes using beach-compatible sand from upland sources.

Any removed debris should be deposited landward of the CCCL.

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Is beach scraping authorized?

Beach scraping is not authorized under the Emergency Final Order. Emergency permits may be issued by the DEP, where there is a threat to upland development, and where sufficient sand can be scraped without adversely affecting the beach.

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Can sand be dredged from offshore and pumped under structures?

No. A Joint Coastal Permit would be required to dredge sand from offshore.

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What can private property owners do?

The Emergency Final Order authorizes local governments to issue permits for activities seaward of the Coastal Construction Control Line to private and public property owners to temporarily secure structures, remove safety hazards and prevent further damage or collapse of foundations, and repair damaged structures.

Property owners should contact the building department of their local government to obtain permits. Local governments can provide the DEP with a statement of intent to issue permits by calling (850) 488-7708 or faxing (850) 488-5257.

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Can I build a new seawall?

Property owners and local governments may not construct structures or armoring that did not exist before the emergency without the necessary permits, including new seawalls. A DEP Administrative permit is needed for new, reconstructed or repaired bulkheads, seawalls, revetments or other rigid coastal armoring.

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Is armoring allowed under emergency conditions?

Under emergency conditions, local governments may authorize temporary armoring to immediately protect public and private infrastructure like homes, utilities and roads if those structures are threatened. In order to consider the armoring permanent, the property owner must submit a complete CCCL permit application to the Department within 60 days of installing the armoring. Otherwise, the property owner must remove the temporary armoring structure.

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What about repairing beach and dune erosion caused by the hurricanes?

Local, state and federal agencies will work together to provide short and long-term beach repair. The Department’s coastal engineers began conducting aerial and ground beach assessments from Wakulla to Escambia County on July 12, 2005.

These detailed assessments will document the impact of the storm on the Panhandle shoreline. While many impacted beach and dune systems will recover naturally with time, intermediate actions may be necessary to accelerate the natural process and provide coastal communities with storm protection. The Department will use the beach assessments to identify needed local beach projects ranging from dune restoration to beach restoration and nourishment.

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Where can I get more information?

AREA SERVED CONTACT PHONE NUMBER
Statewide Tony McNeal (850) 921-7745
Statewide Coastal Armoring Michael Wetherington (850) 921-7846
Bay County Rolando Gomez (850) 921-7841
Escambia County Fritz Wettstein (850) 921-7780
Franklin and Gulf counties Valerie Jones (850) 921-7849
Monroe County Fritz Wettstein (850) 921-7780
Okaloosa County Rolando Gomez (850) 921-7841
Santa Rosa County Fritz Wettstein (850) 921-7780
Wakulla County Fritz Wettstein (850) 921-7780
Walton County Jim Martinello (850) 414-7772

Information on emergency relief and post-storm permit requirements is available at www.floridadep.org/beaches. The Bureau of Beaches & Coastal Systems’ damage assessment report will be posted upon completion.

Last updated: May 23, 2011

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