The damage has been totaled along Martin County’s coastline from the waves of Hurricane Sandy at $6.3 million worth, according to the county. Much of that is damage from beach erosion.
"Without the beach renourishments, I think the ocean would be lapping at every condominium and every business," said renourishment advocate Jim Hudson.
The hurricane hit Bathtub Beach the hardest. Dunes already ravaged by a recent nor'easter washed away. The beach is still closed, and renourishment is underway. Hudson says keeping the beaches healthy keeps the economy healthy.
"You've got about a $1,300,000,000 worth of taxable income into Martin County," said Hudson.
Governor Rick Scott submitted a request to President Obama for FEMA assistance that could help Martin County. Don Donaldson, Martin County Engineering Director, says it will have to dip into tax dollars, if the feds don't come through.
"We don't know if they'll become eligible, but should they, we expect to have some new projects based on the amount of funds we can get," said Donaldson.
Meanwhile, county officials are waiting to hear back from the Army Corps of Engineers to see if their bid on a renourishment project on the county's northern beaches is a go.
In 2013, the Corps would replenish about 500,000 cubic yards of sand on a four-mile stretch.
"And the timing couldn't be better for that because we lost so much of the beach and so much of our dune," said Doug Smith, Martin County Commissioner for District 1.
In the coming weeks, county staff will meet with beachside residents to assess their dune damage and work on fixing it. Donaldson says Bathtub Beach will probably be open, but unguarded, through the winter.
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