GULF COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Like everyone else across the Panhandle, Gulf County is still recovering from Hurricane Michael.
Their latest FEMA-funded project involves restoring the damaged coastline.
The dune enhancement project will be a three-phase project, starting with phase one at the Indian Pass Peninsula.
It’s going to start just east of Salinas Park and it will go towards south Neptune which is towards the Indian Pass boat ramp.
“This is a project that will reconstruct the frontal dune that was damaged during Hurricane Michael and the Indian Pass Peninsula has a portion of that, we are also doing the same work on the Cape San Blas portion and then Beacon Hill, St. Joe beach,” Clay Smallwood, Assistant County Administrator, said.
They will reconstruct the dune with beach-quality sand and then they will plant native vegetation like sea oats.
“The dunes help protect infrastructure,” Smallwood said. “It helps protect folks’ homes and, ya know, that’s important to our tax base in our count, but also adding the plants to the dunes is good for the environment. It’s good for the beach mouse and the other critters that live in the dune system.”
Smallwood said the project will take around five months to complete.
“It’s a way to help the beach to jumpstart healing itself and adding to the dune we are going to put there. Mother nature will continue to add sand to that,” Smallwood said.
The construction will take place during daylight hours and should cause minimal disturbances to homeowners and beachgoers.
“Obviously there will be a construction zone where they are working, but the good news about Indian Pass is the beach is very wide and there’s plenty of room for folks to still enjoy the beach and the contractors to work, so whatever impacts there are or disturbances they will be temporary,” Smallwood said.
Once Indian Pass is completed, Smallwood said crews will move to phase two at beacon hill for the next 110 days, then to Cape San Blas which will take three months.
FEMA is funding the project at a cost of a little more than $9 million.