Above: Beach house still as it was after Hurricane Matthew, when the storm surge washed away the foundation.

It is over 8 months since Hurricane Matthew barreled across NorthEast Florida and the cleanup is far from complete. In fact, many of the beaches are only just now starting to be rebuilt. They have had all winter to work on this, people say, how come they are doing this now, when Summer is here and folks want to use the beaches?  A NE Florida summer with no beach is a hot, dusty, “hellish” experience!  

This can be true, but in the case of Hurricane Matthew, there are deadlines  fast approaching to file for relief, and money has yet to come from FEMA, the State and in some cases the County.


Hurricane Matthew caused damage to businesses too - the SBDC tries to help

Reasons for the Time Delay in Cleaning Up

  1. State had no specifically budgeted line item
  2. ‘The World Is Running Out Of Sand’ – New Yorker article – so that even if the State did have Hurricane Cleanup as a general line item, they would not have anticipated the current price of sand.
  3. Dealing with the government and insurance companies takes time. it is more than the forms and the number of people each form has to be signed by. There are other things officials were already working on.
  4. Getting onto the schedule with the Army Corps of Engineers also takes time – (other initiatives)
  5. Other impacts of a Hurricane that are just as important as restoring people’s houses and the beaches, that take time and money.  For example,
    • the debris of docks, decks and tree limbs that clog up the waterways, run-off ponds and other draining systems
    • Whose responsibility to clean up that kind of detritus is often a point of debate between the State and the County, let alone the municipality.
    • “Cleanup of debris on land is controlled by, and paid for by the county, but anything that has to do with the water is the sole responsibility of the state.  So the Department of Environmental Protection allocated state money for water cleanup, but it just wasn’t enough. ” St Augustine Record in March 2017

Which leaves volunteers to step in to help.  There are groups who can be helpful:

  • St Johns River Keepers
  • North Florida Coastal Caretakers, and more

BUT, those groups have to pay by the ton when they dump whatever they have the means to collect!

To report debris that should be part of the Hurricane Matthew Cleanup you can contact your local Riverkeeper or send an email: waterwaydebris:@gmail.com


Business Continuation Services through the Small Business Development Center – http://floridasbdc.org/services/business-continuation/ –

Disaster Assistance App

Disaster Loan Assistance

On-Site Recovery Assistance

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