Frequently Asked Questions




QI. What is an MSBU?

A. Municipal Service Benefit Unit (MSBU) is a special-purpose taxing district within which assessments can be made (by in this instance Nassau County) to individual property owners who benefit from the construction of a single-purpose project improvement.

Q2. What are the geographic boundaries of the SAISS-MSBU?

A. The oceanfront boundaries extend from the southern limit of Burney Park on the north to the northern limit of the Amelia island State Park on the south. For the most part, the District extends across the island. Both developed and undeveloped properties are included.

Q3. Will the residents of Osprey Village be assessed?

A. No. Osprey Village is not within the geographic limits of the SAISS-MSBU.

Q4. Why isn’t the Florida Park Service paying part of the 2011 beach renourishment?

A. At present the State of Florida Beach Management Program has no funds for this project. Assuming an increase in funds in the near future, the project is eligible for a State Cost- share computed to be 39.21%. The possibility of a retroactive reimbursement for the State share of the project is dependent upon funding availability and project ranking.

Q5. Why doesn’t SAISSA apply for Federal funding for the beach renourishment?

A. Federal funding is only available for congressionally authorized and funded projects. To achieve such a status takes on average more than a decade. To obtain federal funding can take even longer. As an example, the Nassau County Shore Protection Project, which encompasses the City of Fernandina Beach, was authorized by Congress in the mid1 970s. It was only first constructed in 2008. Moreover, Federal projects which achieve a maximum cost-share of about 60% must have public access and parking on approximate half-mile intervals.

 Q6. Why isn’t the renourishment preferred in the winter when fewer people are on the beach?

 A. The project is not constructed within the winter months due to associated periods of elevated wave energy which make offshore dredging operations inefficient and hazardous. The most cost-effective period of the year to operate a dredge in N.E. Florida is the summertime fair weather months of May-September

Q7. What impact will the beach renourishment have on turtle nesting?

A. All turtle nests which are laid within the limits of the beach to be nourished are moved to safety by trained individuals. As a result, potential impacts to sea turtles are significantly reduced or, ideally, eliminated.

Q8. Where is the borrow site?

A. The project borrow site is located approximately 4,500 ft. eastward of Amelia Island state Park on the outer fringe of the Nassau Sand ebb tidal shoal, near the south end of the beach fill project.

 Q9. Will beach access be affected by the renourishment?

A. Beach access at the waters edge will only be affected by sand placement operations along a 1,000-1,500 ft stretch at any one time. An alternate route on the uppermost back beach berm will be provided for pedestrian access in a shore parallel direction.

Q10. how long will the construction equipment be in front of my property?

A. The construction process will move along the shorefront at a rate of 200-300 ft. per day on average. The total area under construction at any one time is approximately 1,000- 1,500 ft. long. Hence, fill operation(s) will be in front of a property on average one week or less.

 Q11. how much of the cost does the commercial segment pay?
A. The commercial segment pays
13.5% of the total cost 

Q12. Can I pay my share of the total beach renourishment assessment in one payment and avoid paying the interest due on the bond?

A. There will be a one-time opportunity for a property owner to pay the full assessment in full. If paid, this will save the property owner interest charges and collection fees over the eight year bond term.

Q13. Where does all the sand that erodes from our beach end up?

A. The project is designed so that most of the sand leaving the fill berm 6ver the first 6-12 months moves seaward into the submerged profile, thereby re-establishing the near-shore profile. Subsequently, annualized net losses of sand are primarily to Nassau Sound. A small percentage of the fill disperses toward the north.

Q14. Did we derive any benefit from the recent renourishment on the north end of the island?

A. No. There is no tangible near term benefit anticipated from the beach restoration project recently constructed at Fernandina Beach.

Q15. If we agree to have the County issue a $15 million bond what happens if the bids for the work end up being more or less than that amount?

A. If the bid is more than $15 million, the project will be modified to achieve the best possible result from a lesser amount of fill. If the bid is less, the bond will be issued for a lesser amount.

Q16. Can the project be broken into phases (say 50% in 2011 where it is needed the most & 50% later) to spread the cost and/or to allow time for state funding to be obtained?

A. No, it would not be cost effective. Each dredging event has a fixed mobilization/demobilization fee of approximately $3M. A two (2) part project would double this amount. Moreover, the per cost unit of sand placed on the beach goes down the larger the job. Hence, per unit costs would increase by an estimated 25% or more for two (2) 1 MCY projects versus one (1) 2 MCY projects

Q17. How can we influence the State to provide funding in the future?

A. At present, the project is authorized for a 39.21% cost share assuming funding availability and priority as to ranking. This eligibility is good for up to 3 years after construction.

 Q18. What is the estimated impact on cost for delaying for 1 year? Or 2 years?

A. The impact on cost to construct in 2011 versus 2012 is difficult to assess. The cost of such projects has however essentially doubled since the last renourishment. Conversely, the current cost of bonding the cost to construct is at a decade low.

Q19. What is the estimated impact on beach erosion for delaying 1 year? Or 2 years?

A. At present, the base beach berm comprised of very coarse shell material (constructed in 1994) is now exposed and would be gradually lost by a 1 to 2 year delay. It is not replaceable. The narrower the beach is allowed to become in the absence of renourishment the higher the probability of storm damage to dunes, oceanfront golf course fairways and, potentially, buildings.

Delaying 1 to 2 years will necessitate a larger project volume. Hence, in the net there are no cost savings. Acquiring the volume of additional sand
(Le., 12-25% additional) may not be possible.

Q20. DIII the last renourishment not work? Why do we have to do it again? flow often will we have to renourish the beach?

A. Yes. The last renourishment performed both as designed and predicted. It lasted the intended 8 years at which time scheduled maintenance was to be performed (in 2010).
Like a frame-house, the project requires maintenance at some scheduled interval. Beach restoration cannot eliminate the natural processes which remove sand from Amelia Island. The latter derive from wind, wave and tides and are insurmountable, One can only strategically supplement the sand system to restore what was lost over time. In the future after the next renourishment project maintenance would again be expected at year 8 or 9.

Q21. Why would not a series of groins or a groin field he more effective at protecting the beach thereby eliminating the need for future periodic renourishments?

A. The objective of the two (2) phased 2002 South Amelia Island Shore Stabilization Project was to incorporate a structural component into the existing beach restoration management plan in order to better affect a comprehensive solution to the historical chronic erosion experienced along the extreme southern tip of the island. The latter went unaddressed by the initial 1994 project. This approach, which now incorporates State owned lands into the limits of the original SAISSA project, was based upon three guiding principles:

1) Provide protection for the Sea Island/maritime forest ecosystem that existed upland of the Amelia Island State Park (AISP) shoreline,

2) Provide stabilization and protection to the shoreline and “engineered” beach nourishment project located along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline northward of the AISP, and
3) Provide sufficient recreational beach width and habitat to meet the goals and resource needs of the AISP.

The resultant Phase II structural stabilization component as constructed in 2004 at the south end of Amelia Island was required to balance two primary and somewhat competing objectives. First, the Atlantic Ocean shoreline of both the AISP and the private properties to the north needed to be sufficiently stabilized so that an acceptable beach fill renourishment interval and protective beach widths could be achieved and maintained. Second, a sufficient amount of sand needed to continue to be transported around the southern tip of the island along the reach of Nassau Sound shoreline extending to the A1A Bridge. Permit constraints directed toward any structural stabilization alternative to be considered at this location likewise mandated the minimization of impacts to the Bird Island shoal system within Nassau Sound.

Both structural and non-structural measures intended to address chronic erosion and recession at the southern tip of the island were studied and subjected to in-depth engineering analysis. While a dense field of short groins could have provided a high level of assurance against continuing shoreline recession, the structural intensiveness of the requisite solution would be excessively expensive and not in keeping with the operational mandates of the State Park system for “conservation” lands. To reduce the structural intensity but still achieve sufficient shoreline stability, the concept of a singular long, low “leaky” terminal groin was introduced.

Studies indicated that the impoundment characteristics and permeability of such a terminal structure would lead to the creation of an interior sandy spit, which would then feed the interior Park shoreline facing Nassau Sound. Starvation of that shoreline, as would be expected by a conventional multi-structure groin field, was neither desirable by the Florida Park Service nor permittable by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems.

Since the limits of the leaky terminal rock structure (even at 1600-ft in length) would only hold the improved seaward location of the shoreline within the AISP for a limited distance northward thereof, it was determined that a reconfigured (post-fill) shoreline based upon a single structure would continue to be problematic. For that reason, a small detached breakwater was constructed near the northernmost limit of the Park in order to both benefit the restored shoreline to the north and preclude migration of the shoreline at that location into the maritime forest.

Existing regulatory constraints formally codified by project Permit Conditions and Terms) necessitate that any “structural” alternative adversely impacting either the Park shoreline, or the sand sharing system of Nassau Sound and/or the Talbot Islands, would necessitate remediation and/or removal. To date, the Phase II structures implemented as an integral part of the South Amelia Island Shore Stabilization Project have performed as intended. Conversely, it needs to be well understood that no structural alternative suitable for implementation at the south end of Amelia Island can simply replace or preclude the continuing need for beach restoration northward thereof.

Q22. A lot of sand from our beach seems to end up in Nassau Sound in one or more sand bars. Why can’t that sand be returned to the beach?

A. As discussed above, that is by both design and State adopted precepts dictating regional sand management. However, the 2002 and the 2011 borrow site to be excavated for purposes of beach fill are located on the Nassau Sound ebb tidal shoal. Pragmatically this is allowed by Permit with the Condition that the activities cannot be impactive to the Amelia Island/Nassau Sound sand sharing system. To do otherwise could be impactive to the region and could therefore necessitate potential remediation, cessation of beach restoration activities and/or the potential removal of any structural measures used to improve beach restoration project performance. The two existing structures are intended to reduce the accelerated rate of sand loss near Nassau Sound and control it in such a manner that a wide. robust beach can be maintained along the southernmost extremity of Amelia Island.

Q23. Does the higher shell content of the beach fill retard the natural growth of sea oats and other native beach plant materials?

A. The coarse nature of the beach fill sediments placed to date strategically serves to significantly increase the stability and effective life of the beach restoration project. Most such fill projects, including the South Amelia project, allow for either planned or opportunistic propagation of salt tolerant vegetation. Stands of such vegetation on the fill berm typically result in accumulations of fine wind blown sand. Hence the surficial portion of the upland fill berm typically evolves with a finer sand fraction conducive to the growth of sea oats and other native beach plant materials. It should be understood that a conventional beach fill project at this location constructed of only fine sand would result in an effective renourishment interval of 3- to 5-years in contrast to the current 8- to 9-years.

Sea oats alone do not serve to stop erosion or stabilize beaches, On a moderately retreating shoreline or engineered beach fill project they can however serve to trap wind blown sand sufficient to cause localized deposition and the formation of protective dune features. They likewise provide habitat for various species and clearly contribute to the ambiance and aesthetic balance of the restored beach system.

Q24, If approved, what would this project cost me and when would the first payment be due?

A. The first assessment for the eight year bond will not be billed until October 2011. The highest estimated assessment for each property will vary by property location and value as indicated for selected properties (Just) values and neighborhoods listed below:




Just Values





Average All Properties

Ocean Neighborhood






East Neighborhood






West Neighborhood