County Celebrates Ponte Vedra Beach Restoration Project With Sandbreaking Ceremony

Today, St. Johns County celebrated the start of the $38.6 million Ponte Vedra Beach Restoration Project with a sandbreaking ceremony at Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park, located at 1109 Ponte Vedra Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach.

Speakers included Florida Sen. Travis Hutson, Florida House Rep. Cyndi Stevenson, St. Johns County District 4 Commissioner Krista Joseph, St. Johns County District 5 Commissioner Henry Dean, and St. Johns County Emergency Management Director Joe Giammanco. The ceremony concluded with a ceremonial sandbreaking on the beach. Click here to watch the full speeches from the ceremony.

“This project will help sustain a place that has great impact on our economy and tourism,” Commissioner Joseph said. “According to our Visitors and Convention Bureau, 44% of tourists visit St. Johns County for its beautiful beaches, and 76% stay overnight in our hotels, which means they would also eat in our restaurants and shop at our stores. If you come to Florida, you visit the beach, and that’s why this was so important to our County.”

Once completed, the Ponte Vedra Beach Restoration Project will restore storm-damaged dunes and berms to provide storm protection to upland infrastructure with more than two million cubic yards of sand dredged in from the ocean. The project will create additional environmental habitat for wildlife, enhance the recreational value of the beach, and provide substantial coastline fortifications, including dune reconstruction between 13 and 18 feet, beach berm elevation of eight feet, and beach width increase of 40 to 180 feet post-construction. The project area stretches from the St. Johns-Duval County line to the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve – about nine miles of coastline.

“Following the devastation of the 2016 and 2017 hurricane seasons, the Ponte Vedra community and St Johns County recognized the need to nourish the Ponte Vedra section of the beach,” St. Johns County Emergency Management Director Joe Giammanco said. “ I can’t tell you how many hours were spent on the planning, design, permitting, and finding funding for this project. But I can tell you that when the community, the County, and the State work together to achieve a goal, it can get done.”

The project will cost about $38.6 million, approximately $30.6 million of which has come from state legislative funding and grants. The remaining amount is being funded through County matching requirements and funding set aside from previous Board actions for this project. At the Feb. 20 Board of County Commissioners regular meeting, the Board voted 5-0 to approve a motion authorizing the County to award the beach restoration bid to the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder for the construction of the project – Weeks Marine.

“I can’t forget Rep. Tom Leek,” Commissioner Dean said. “If you don’t know, Tom has been Chairman of the House of Appropriations Committee. That means dollars. That means money to St. Johns County. Not only did we get money for this beach renourishment, but we got additional funds for a lot of other good County projects, so I can’t thank Tom enough. And I can’t sit down without thanking our hero, Florida House Speaker Paul Renner. Paul, as Speaker, put this on his top priority list to get this project done.”

St. Johns County has 42 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline. The County manages 32 miles of the coastline. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection designates 17.1 miles of the coastline as critically eroded, with an additional 7.6 miles deemed non-critically eroded. Historically, the St. Augustine and Matanzas Inlets have been the primary causes of erosion. In the present day, hurricanes, nor’easters, overwashes, and seawalls have also contributed, necessitating action by government entities at the local, state, and federal levels.

Stephen Hammond, Project Manager for St. Johns County Coastal Management, presented an update on upcoming and ongoing coastal projects at the 37th Annual National Conference on Beach Preservation Technology earlier this year.

In coordination with these valuable coastal management projects, St. Johns County sustained important environmental and physical monitoring of the coastline. In 2023, St. Johns County beaches saw a record 133 green sea turtle nests as part of 1,205 total nests and an estimated 79,811 sea turtle hatchlings.

The public can stay updated on the project and beach parking closures at and by using the County’s mobile app SJC Connect, available at

Additional photos and videos of today’s ceremony are available courtesy of the St. Johns County Office of Public Affairs at