2021 Gulf County FEMA Berms - Beacon Hill/St. Joe Beach Segment

Project Updates

February 26, 2021: Bidding plans for review can be found at the link HERE. More details will be provided shortly. Please feel free to visit the FAQ's as they have been updated to reflect this particular project or reach out to us using the Contact form at the bottom of this site.

February 26, 2021: Gulf County is proud to announce that the FEMA Emergency Berm (Dune Enhancement) Project is now out for bid. The proposed project is located along the gulf front beach of Indian Peninsula and Beacon Hill/St Joe Beach, Gulf County, Florida. The project consists of the placement of clean white beach compatible sand obtained from the Honeyville Sand Mine in Wewahitchka, Florida. In addition, the project includes the installation of multiple native dune vegetation species. Bidding documents and the advertisement for the bid can be found at the following link on Gulf County's Website (Search for Bid #2021-13) Gulf County Bids.

History and Background

Hurricane Michael impacted Florida between October 7, 2018 and October 19, 2018, bringing strong winds, storm surge, and flooding. President Trump signed a disaster declaration (FEMA-4399-DR-FL) on October 11, 2018 authorizing the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide federal assistance to the designated areas of Florida. This assistance is provided pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), and Public Law (PL) 93-288, as amended. Section 403 of the Stafford Act authorizes FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) Program to provide assistance essential to meeting immediate threats to life and property resulting from a major disaster. The coast of Gulf County was damaged via storm surge and erosion incurred during Hurricane Michael in October 2018.

Gulf County, Florida was designated as a county eligible to receive federal assistance. Gulf County has applied through the PA Program to receive funding to restore the eroded coastal dune system and install beach berms (dunes) in Gulf County. Two of the shoreline segments (St. Joe Beach and Indian Pass) are natural beaches and one (St. Joseph Peninsula) is an engineered beach previously authorized for nourishment and maintenance by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)

This project is located in Gulf County, Florida along the northern Gulf of Mexico Coast. The Beacon Hill/St. Joe Beach segment, measures 16,100 linear feet, and is located south of US Highway 98, from the Bay/Gulf County Line west of R-1 (29.9247, -85.3887) to R-15 (29.8904, -85.3571).

Q: When will the project start?

A: Construction is anticipated to begin around October/November of 2021. Gulf County is currently advertising to select a contractor for the project.

Q: How long will the project go on?

A: Construction of the 1.9-mile dune restoration project that extends from the Bay/Gulf County line to roughly the eastern end of St. Joe Beach will take approximately 3 months. This project will continue from the eastern end of the Mexico Beach FEMA Berms (Dunes) built in 2019. The construciton timeframe will depend on weather conditions, equipment issues and other external factors.

Q: Where will the project start?

A: Until a contractor is selected, we can not say with any certainty where the contractor will begin construction.

Q: How long will the construction be in front of my property?

A: How long it will take to construct a beach segment is dependent upon a number of factors, some of which are external, so we cannot predict the actual time. However, it can be expected that the project will advance down the beach at a rate of 100 to 500 feet per day. The advancement will include the dumping of sand from offroad dump trucks followed by construction equipment that will move and grade the beach. The rate of advancement will be dependent on any potential delays caused by inclement weather, equipment issues or the presence of an endangered species such as a sea turtle. Even though the active part of the project will move down the beach fairly quickly, there will be sections with equipment on the beach for most of the construction period.

Q: Will I be able to get onto the beach while the project is going on?

A: Yes, however it might mean that you will have to walk north or south of your property to access the beach, but you will always be able to get to the beach during construction. Pedestrian traffic may be prohibited in the 300- or 500-foot segment under “active construction”, but that would be a temporary situation for a relatively short period of time, and you can simply enjoy the beach north or south of the construction activity.

Q: Does the contractor work certain days of the week or certain hours of the day?

A: The beach restoration project is anticipated to be constructed on a 7-days a week basis, during daylight hours only. The amount of construction activity will be dependent on any potential delays caused by inclement weather, equipment issues or the presence of an endangered species such as a sea turtle.

Q: Is the construction noisy?

A: YES. The beach will be an “active construction” site that will take place 7-days a week during daylight hours only. Offroad Dump-trucks, bulldozers, front-end loaders and other large pieces of equipment will be used in the construction of the beach project. You will be able to tell there is an “active construction” site in your area when the operations are near or seaward of your property.

Q: Will construction equipment and laborers be accessing the beach through our property?

A: NO. The limits of construction are from the top of the dune out into the Gulf of Mexico and the contractor is prohibited from going through your property without permission from the property owner. The contractor is allowed access to the beach at designated staging areas and beach accesses.

Q: Will I still be able to rent my home or condo during construction?

A: Yes. As with many other beach communities during construction of a beach project, rentals and owners still enjoy the beach and typical vacation activities during construction. However, it should be noted that some safety restrictions around the “active construction” site will limit access to the general public but, the beach will remain open. This will be a fast-moving project, so at this time we cannot predict where and when the crews will be working and, if it will impact your property during a given week. We will do our best to provide updates through this website as to where the crews are working and where beach access is temporarily restricted.

Q: Will I have to take my dune walkover down?

A: Not necessarily. It will depend whether or not the dune fronting your property has been eroded and will be restored during this project. Whether you remove your dune walkover before the project begins is up to you. When the contractor encounters any structure that is not removed (dune walkover, gazebos, etc.) they will only place sand up to and around it. If you leave a structure intact and the contractor places sand around it, it may not be as much sand as your property would have received if you had removed it. If you wish to remove and then reinstall your boardwalk or other structure, we suggest you check with the individual who constructed them for the best way to remove and perhaps reinstall them after construction.

Q: Will I have to get a permit to rebuild my gazebo or boardwalk that was destroyed in past storms?

A: Any activity on the beach and dune requires a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). However, the type of permit you need will depend on the size and type of structure. For walkovers that meet certain DEP criteria, a field permit may be issued. For other structures, such as gazebos, you may need to apply for and obtain a Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) permit from DEP.

It is extremely important that you do not begin construction of any boardwalk or other structure without obtaining the necessary permitting to do so.

The DEP CCCL Permit Manager for Gulf County is:

Ronard Ivey, Environmental Specialist II

You can view the Sand Fence Guidelines and Dune Walkover Guidelines here. Link

Q: Will I have to plant sea oats myself?

A: NO. As part of the dune restoration project, the replanting of the dunes will be undertaken shortly after construction. There are four different native species of plants proposed for this project and the species were selected after consulting the local US Fish and Wildlife Office. The following species will be planted (depending on nursery availability): Sea Oats, Bitter/Beach-Panicum, Beach Elder, and Gulf Bluestem.

Construction Drawings For the 2021 Gulf County Fema Berm/Dune Restoration Project - Beacon Hill/St. Joe Beach Segment

Provided below are images of the plans that will be utilized for bidding. The plans provide details as to the proposed widths and profile shape along the proposed project. Please note the provided plans are not valid for construction without being signed and sealed and are being provided for review only.

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If you have a specific question not addressed in the FAQ's, please feel free to send us a message. Typcial response times are between 24 and 48 hours during business hours.