Volusia County residents applaud dune restoration project

People in Ormond-by-the-Sea are welcoming a dune restoration project in Volusia and Flagler counties, but say cooperation from visitors and residents is needed. 

The Florida Department of Transportation has started a dune vegetation project this week from Ormond-by-the-Sea to Beverly Beach in Flagler County. 

Crews are planting vegetation to help stabilize the dunes. They also hope it deters people from parking on them – something residents say is a big problem.

"That irritates me because these are my tax dollars they’re driving over. These are my tax dollars again. They're gonna drive over them. There’s no doubt in my mind," said resident Walter Hamilton.

Like many residents, Hamilton is worried about the state of the dunes after they took a big hit from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

"I don’t say I fear for my life, but one of my big concerns is a storm surge – I’m six houses from the ocean – will come right up the street here and wipe everything out," he said. 

Melissa Lammers is the Vice Chair of ECHO Volusia Forever, an environmental conservation organization. She also lives across from the dunes and has seen the damage first hand. 

She is optimistic about the project, but cautiously, saying they need people to keep off.

"It’s the right thing to do, but without the cooperation of residents and visitors, it won’t work, and we’ll find out what the consequences of that are in the next big storm that we have," she said. 

FDOT says the project cost $500,000 and is expected to be complete in late summer.