Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Until recent Hurricanes Matthew and Irma struck northeast Florida, Hurricane Dora had been the first and only hurricane-strength storm in recorded history to strike the region. The area had gradually become regarded as a safe spot as storms at that latitude generally curved away from Jacksonville and northeast Florida, and turned north to make landfall in the Carolinas. Unknown to most, Vilano Beach had been experiencing steady yet chronic beach erosion and was already in a highly vulnerable state in many places when the recent storms struck. The cause of the ongoing background erosion continues to be a source of contention among residents and some experts. This paper presents prestorm historic beach conditions, the potential causes and progression of erosional events surrounding Hurricanes Matthew and Irma at three locations in northeast Florida, and an assessment of protection measures implemented by homeowners. Observations made during field investigations show that bulkheads constructed to protect single or multiple houses exacerbate erosion at the ends of the bulkheads. This results in both failure of the bulkheads as well as increased erosion for neighboring properties.

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