FEMA strikes down second appeal on beach nourishment

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 10:48 AM.

The second time was no more of a charm than the first for the Board of County Commissioners.

Commissioner Warren Yeager reported during Tuesday’s regular bi-monthly meeting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had turned down, for the second time, an appeal for reimbursement for sand loss on St. Joseph Peninsula and Indian Pass due to Hurricane Gustav.

Gustav came ashore in Northwest Florida in 2008 and caused an estimated $15 million in damages to beaches which had just been nourished in a $21 million project.

The estimate was that nearly two-thirds of that sand was lost.

The BOCC has been seeking reimbursement for the lost sand for five years but has run into a wall with FEMA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over species habitat concerns.

“The solution is to get Cape San Blas and Indian Pass out of CBRA,” Yeager said, referring to the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, which limits the expenditure of federal funds in areas considered sensitive coastline.

The CBRA designation restricts property owners’ ability to secure reasonably-priced federal flood insurance among other impacts.

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