Walton County Beaches After Beach Nourishment Halted

"Yesterday we could have set up, but the water was all the way to Pompano Joe's and we couldn't set up at all," said beach attendant Hunter Meyer.

Water continued to inch up near the dunes by Pompano Joe's restaurant Tuesday. The homes and businesses just a few feet away don't have the same problem. The difference? A section of shore has been rebuilt through the beach renourishment project. But the government stopped the project just short of Pompano Joe's last month, after dredging equipment killed another sea turtle.

Pompano Joe's Head Waitress, Nora Whoolery, even sees the difference.

"It's diminishing quit a bit. We used to have quite a bit of beach all the way down there to where we use to have almost 800 people on this beach for a calypso party, and as you can see we can barely fit maybe 10 people on this beach to do anything at all down here."

That's not the only issue. The county won't be able to finish the renourishment project until November. The restaurant's owners were hoping to see an upgraded parking lot after the beach rebuilding. Now that will have to wait. Then there's the safety issue. Lifeguards stationed in the area that haven't been renourished say they're having to travel longer distance to get to the more populated beaches.

"Our response time to them in case anything happens where the majority of the people are going where the beaches are renourished, so us being here puts us in the position of having to travel long places to have to get to somebody," said South Walton Fire District Lifeguard Adam Boyer.

Meyer just hopes to see the beaches rebuilt as soon as possible.

"It's hurt us a lot in our business this summer; we've lost a lot of money."


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