FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 29, 2005
CONTACT: Sarah Williams, (850) 245-2112 or (850) 519-2897
DEP Releases Hurricane Dennis Damage
--Report details beach conditions, suggested recovery options--
TALLAHASSEE – After completing more than 500 hours
of aerial and ground evaluations, the Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) today released its damage
assessment report from Hurricane Dennis, detailing beach and
dune conditions and structural damage across eight coastal
counties in the Panhandle.
“Florida’s beaches and dunes provide a natural buffer for
coastal habitats, and act as the first line of defense
against storms and high waves,” said DEP Secretary Colleen
M. Castille. “Thoroughly documenting the storm’s impacts
provides the State with the information necessary to assist
local governments and homeowners with hurricane recovery and
Days after the category three storm tore across the
Emerald coast, teams of engineers and environmental managers
from the DEP began assessing coastal damage, dune impacts
and beach erosion. Following Hurricane Dennis, DEP engineers
completed close to 550 hours of aerial and ground
assessments across eight counties, shooting 50 hours of
video and more than 3,000 digital still photographs to
document hurricane impacts.
The report documents coastal impacts from Wakulla to
Escambia County, identifying recommended local beach
projects ranging from dune restoration to beach restoration
and nourishment. While many impacted beach and dune systems
will recover naturally with time, intermediate actions may
be necessary to accelerate the natural process and provide
coastal communities with storm protection.
Florida’s beach and dune system acts as the first line of
defense during hurricane season. Wide sandy beaches reduce
the impacts of storm surge and provide wave attenuation.
Beach restoration and nourishment can prepare the coastline
to better withstand the forces of hurricanes while providing
recreational and economic benefits. A 2003 Florida Atlantic
University study found that for every dollar invested in
beach restoration, the State receives a $6 - $8 economic
return from beach visitors.
State, federal and local governments invest millions of
dollars annually to restore and maintain critically eroded
beaches along Florida’s coastline. Over the last three
years, Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature
appropriated nearly $206 million to restore Florida’s
shoreline. To date, more than 174 miles of beach has been
restored and maintained through the State program.
Last week, DEP opened a field office in Walton County to
assist residents impacted by the hurricane. DEP staff are
providing emergency field permitting support for area
residents and technical assistance for local governments as
part of the hurricane recovery effort.
To read the damage assessment report, visit
contact the Walton County field office, call (850) 267-1955