Collier County approves plan to build emergency berms on its beaches

Published: January 24, 2023 5:15 PM EST
Updated: January 24, 2023 5:30 PM EST

Rebuilding eroded beaches is what Collier County has to get this all done by the end of March to get reimbursed by FEMA. It is also important to have them rebuilt before the next hurricane season.

The county plans to haul 400,000 cubic yards of sand to rebuild dunes and protect our infrastructure.

Collier County beaches are open but not up to pre-hurricane standards.

On Tuesday, commissioners approved an emergency berm project.

“I think the commissioners were receptive because they know what happened back in September. They know it’s important to get these properties protected,” said Andy Miller, coastal zone manager for Collier County.

Miller said Hurricane Ian basically ripped up or ripped out many of the sand dunes up and down the county’s beaches.

If another hurricane were to strike, there would be nothing to stop the surge and nothing protecting the buildings and other inland structures.

MORE: Emergency berm proposed for Collier County beaches

The emergency berm will help.

“There are trucks on the way as soon as we get contracts, bid documents out for bidding, and get the contracts processed,” Miller said.

Getting the project done quickly is important if Collier County hopes to have FEMA and the state pick up much of the $24 million cost. They need to get the emergency berms done by March.

“I mean, I’m not looking too much in the back. I look out to the water. The water is beautiful,” said Von Shipman, visiting from Georgia.

Shipman thinks the county has a good. “If there are a few things that aren’t 100%, I’m OK with that. I know it takes time to come back from a natural disaster.”

On top of getting all that sand to the beaches and spreading it out by the March 29 deadline, there is one other complication, turtles. Crews will have to make sure not to disrupt their protected areas.