E-mail received this afternoon from Coastal Tech, SRC Navarre Beach consultant about the Hurricane Ike beach erosion.
From: Cliff Truitt [mailto:CTruitt@coastaltechcorp.com
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 4:17 PM
To: Commissioner Goodin
; Michael Walther; Tem Fontaine; Julia Thompson; Roger Blaylock; Hunter Walker; Tom Dannheisser; Shirley Powell; Sally Davenport
Subject: RE: Navarre Beach
Let me organize my comments into three areas: the damage; the status of the state and federal responses; and our suggestions for next week:
I won’t spend a lot of time describing and discussing the damage at this point; you and the other residents have seen your own beach and are as familiar, or more so, than we are. However, in summary we have looked at several sources of photos and we have reviewed a ‘windshield survey’ prepared by the FDEP staff and also talked to County staff who were on the island. While the loss of the primary dune is a significant issue, it is limited to about 750 feet on the extreme west end of the project. The dune in this area was leveled and the sand was distributed both landward, under the homes in the area, and westward onto the Park; we can see in the photos and surveys the straightened shoreline that now exists from Navarre for several hundred feet into the Park versus the ‘jog’ that was originally created by the fill construction. Even though the dune has been lost in this section, there is still a considerable width of dry beach in place, approaching 100 or more feet. As one moves east, past South Carolina St and Beach Access No.1, the dune damage decreases considerably. This area was over-washed by wave up-rush, on top of the storm surge, on top of the normal high tide that Thursday morning. Sand was lost as well as some of the dune vegetation, but there is still reasonable partial dune width remaining along with dry beach at the lower berm. East of there, through the pier, the storm losses appear to be minimal. Our preliminary calculation estimates roughly 20,000 cubic yards of sand was eroded from the dry beach along the west end during Ike. We will continue to refine this number and to verify the unit costs next week, but a very preliminary value of perhaps $250,000 might be assigned to these losses.
We have checked with both FEMA and the State within the past 2 hours. At this time, there is neither a federal disaster declaration for the Panhandle, nor is there a request by the State DCA/DEM for damage data from local governments that would typically lead to the Governor requesting federal involvement. This is a critical step and requirement that is so far missing from the process. We have looked only narrowly at the sand losses from the beach; but as you and staff know, Public Assistance draws in many other categories including other infrastructure, debris clearing, and ‘extra’ salary for emergency personnel. Of course, we have no knowledge of any of these other factors in Santa Rosa County; but again, the latest information we have is that DCA has not requested such loss data from the Panhandle for Ike.
As for next week, we will finish up our preliminary analyses and work with County staff to develop a simple step-wise approach to getting some more precise survey data and beginning to look at interim recovery/repair options. As I said in my earlier note, we want to focus on restoring a reasonable level of storm protection to those properties where the dune was lost – and do so before the winter season. Whether this might take the form of a limited truck-haul dune project and/or perhaps recovery of some of the nearshore sand moved away by the storm will depend on the data and on discussions of options with staff and the FDEP. Cost partnering options and permit requirements will be part of those discussions.
Coastal Tech is committed to working to resolve the situation and helping the County restore the damaged section of what is otherwise a very successful and well-performing storm protect project. I would also like to take this opportunity to ‘introduce’ Sally Davenport, the head of Coastal Tech’s Coast Zone Management staff. Sally is a federally Certified Flood Plain Manager and has worked with me on previous FEMA reimbursement requests in SW Florida; she is in Coastal Tech’s Austin office at 512-236-9494, Email above, and will continue to monitor the FEMA and State responses to Ike; together Sally and I will do all we can to keep you informed and to assist with whatever requests are forthcoming.
Cliff Truitt, P.E., Ph.D.
Director of Engineering
1900 Main St.; Ste. 210
Sarasota, FL 34236