Request is currently awaiting appeal at Governor's Office
By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- Brevard County's request for government aid in the repair of millions of dollars in damages created by Hurricane Sandy is currently under review by the Governor's Office, officials said.
Ernie Brown, director of Natural Resources for Brevard County, said an initial request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for aid in the repair of the damages and beach erosion created by the hurricane was denied.
The estimated cost in damages is currently at $25 million, the County's natural resources department said. Mr. Brown said the total cost for repairs is a combination of losses in beach erosion throughout the county.
Mr. Brown said it will cost $12.4 million to repair 18 miles of an engineered dune and beach project along "Mid Reach and South Beaches Shoreline." Mr. Brown said that Brevard County has maintained this engineered dune/beach after its construction in 2005.
Along with the $12.4 million needed in repairs for the engineered dune and beach, Mr. Brown said the county will need about $13 million for the repair of erosion to 14 miles of shorelines in Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic and Melbourne Beach.
Despite the rejection for federal aid by FEMA, Mr. Brown said the department is moving forward with the repair project, while the county awaits a decision from the Governor's Office.
"They told us to go ahead and get permits for the repair and begin the bidding process for the $12.4 million project by mid-January," he said. "Turtle season is in May, so we have to start (the repairs) by February. The big question is whether (FEMA) denies or accepts the appeal. If they accept the appeal, we assume they will partner with us for the project."
Mr. Brown said the funding for the nearly $25 million repair project will come from a combination of aid from FEMA, Brevard County and the state of Florida.
If FEMA rejects the appeal for federal aid, Mr. Brown said the county will have to borrow money from the county reserves.
The repair project is expected to be completed in three months, Mr. Brown said.
To repair the erosion to the beaches, Mr. Brown said upland sand sources from sand pits located throughout the county will be delivered to the beach areas with erosion damages, and the sand will then be shaped to fit the area. The sand used for the repairs will be based upon its quality, size and composition, Mr. Brown said.
Brevard County Natural Resources said that some private homes and structures have also been damaged by Hurricane Sandy, which passed through in late October.
The Brevard County Natural Resources Department also said in a press release that Brevard County residents should be aware that, if they have a deck or dune crossover that has been undermined, it is likely a safety hazard and is not stable.
The department said, if a dune has receded to within 10 feet of a property or residential area, property owners should assess the area for stability to determine whether the area is safe to occupy.
The Natural Resources Management Office said it can help with the permitting process for property owners wanting to take immediate action by restoring the dune with beach-quality sand.
For more information, contact Brevard County Natural Resources at (321) 633-2016.