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Hurricane Dennis News

CONTACT: Sarah Williams, (850) 245-2112 or (850) 519-2897

DEP Releases Hurricane Dennis Damage Assessment Report

--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 beach restoration.”

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 http://bcs.dep.state.fl.us/reports/dennis.pdf. To contact the Walton County field office, call (850) 267-1955


Last updated: November 09, 2007

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