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INDIAN RIVER SHORES - The Town of Indian River Shores is asking the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to designate its beaches as “critically eroded.” That designation will help the town get state and federal funding for beach restoration projects.

According to a consultants’ Beach Preservation Plan presented on Sept. 23 at the Indian River County Beach and Shores Preservation Advisory Committee meeting, “Beach Sector 4,” which includes almost all of the beach within Indian River Shores, has become critically eroded and is in need of beach nourishment.

“As anyone who walks the beaches in Indian River Shores knows, storms over recent years have resulted in significant losses of sand,” said Vice Mayor Bob Auwaerter, adding that the “consultant report confirmed what all of us have seen with our own eyes.”

The town asked County Commissioners and Coastal Resources Coordinator Kendra Cope to pursue the “critically eroded” designation with the state. Residents who have experienced losses from erosion were asked to submit comments describing those losses, such as having to add or replace stairs to the beach, pay for sand replenishment, or replace exposed irrigation pipes.

According to the report prepared by Stantec, an international engineering consultant firm, the beaches in Indian River Shores have “experienced the highest rate of average annualized shoreline erosion, with a loss of 1.7 feet per year between 2013 and 2019 and a maximum loss of 33.2 feet per year” in certain portions.

“High erosion rates are consistently measured in the southern portion of Sector 4,” the report continued, adding that no large-scale nourishment project has been completed in Sector 4.

“The proposed management strategy for this sector would be a beach nourishment project and obtain critically eroded status from FDEP.”

If the beaches receive the critically eroded designation from the state, funding will become available from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Send comments by email to the Coastal Coordinator and County Commissioners at kcope@ircgov.com; sadams@ircgov.com; jflescher@ircgov.com; tzorc@ircgov.com; pobryan@ircgov.com; bsolari@ircgov.com.

Comments may be mailed to: Kendra Cope, Coastal Resources Coordinator, Indian River County Coastal Engineering Dept., 1801 27th St., Vero Beach, FL 32960-3388.

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