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$15 Million Awarded To Help Prevent Shoreline Erosion Along Highway 98

Closeup view of a beach.
Robbie Gaffney
/
WFSU-FM
Coastal erosion threatens Highway 98.

Every year, hurricanes and coastal erosion threaten the 12-mile stretch of highway between Carrabelle and Eastpoint. The road is a designated hurricane evacuation route, and already millions of dollars have been spent trying to protect it. But a new effort relies on a unique solution: Nature. Instead of more concrete rubble and seawalls, the Apalachee Regional Planning Council (ARPC) will oversee a 20-acre reef installation near the shore.

Named the Franklin-98 Living Shoreline Project, the ARPC plans to use the reefs to beef up the habitat near the shore. The hope is that these reefs will be able to slow down oncoming waves to allow salt marsh vegetation to grow. The plants will then help stabilize the shoreline by capturing sediment, so it doesn't wash out into the ocean. Mangroves along the coast of central and southern Florida provide a similar function. The ARPC hopes the habitat created through the project can attract sea critters like oysters, clams, and blue crabs.

The ARPC has recently been awarded $15 million from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to use for the project.

The ARPC encourages community input for its upcoming public workshop on the Franklin-98 Living Shoreline Project. It will be held virtually on August 20 at 5 p.m. ET via Zoom. To register, click here.

To learn more about the Franklin-98 Living Shoreline Project, visit the following Facebook page.